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THE  HISTORY 

OF 

Imperial  County 

CALIFORNIA 


EDITED    BY 


IN  ONE  VOLUME 

ILLUSTRATED 


Published  by 
ELMS  and  FRANKS 

BERKELEY,  CALIFORNIA 
I9I8 


Printed  by  Taylor  &  Taylor,  San  Fran 


1714334 


PREFACE 

It  is  related  of  Lord  Byron  that  when  a  boy  in  school  he,  with  his 
fellows,  was  required  to  write  a  paraphrase  of  the  Biblical  account  of 
the  miracle  of  turning  water  into  wine;  within  a  few  moments  he 
handed  to  his  teacher  this  line :  "The  conscious  water  saw  its  God  and 
blushed."  Nothing  could  have  been  added  which  would  have  strength- 
ened or  added  beauty  to  the  matchless  setting. 

May  we  not,  in  humble  imitation  of  that  great  genius,  say  of  Im- 
perial Valley:  Its  fruitful  soil  was  caressed  by  the  wasting  water  of 
an  unregarded  river  and  blossomed  in  perennial  beauty?  The  magic 
touch  of  the  life-giving  water  was  not  an  accident.  It  followed  the 
most  intense  and  unremitting  efforts  of  big  brained,  big  souled  men, 
who  wrought  under  such  difficulties  and  discouragements  as  would 
have  daunted  smaller  men.  What  heroes  they  were,  and  how  richly 
they  deserve  the  crowns  today  so  grudgingly  bestowed,  but  which  the 
future  will  surely  bestow  upon  them. 

And  the  pioneers  who  located  the  first  ranches  and  planted  the  first 
crops — who  can  fitly  write  their  heroic  annals?  Who  tell  of  their  pri- 
vations and  sacrifices  which  resulted  in  making  life  within  the  magic 
borders  of  Imperial  Valley  the  priceless  heritage  of  man?  Standing 
today  by  the  grave  of  that  infant  civilization  which  blossomed,  amid 
such  hardships,  upon  a  desert,  we  would  fain  lift  the  veil  and  see  the 
unthought-of  transformation  which  fifty  years  will  bring.  Even  in 
infancy,  a  colossus,  a  giant,  what  will  the  years  bring  to  this  wonder 
land?  It  deserves  a  better,  wiser,  abler  historian  than  any  man  alive 
today  can  be.  F.  C.  Farr. 


IN   MEMORIAM 

Scarcely  had  Judge  Finis  C.  Farr  finished  his  work 
as  editor  of  this  history  than  death  came  unheralded 
to  him  with  apoplexy. 

He  was  a  man  whose  character  had  borne  the  tes- 
timonial of  public  office  alike  in  Missouri,  his  native 
state,  and  in  Imperial  County,  where  he  had  been  a 
participant  in  public  affairs  from  the  earliest  of  pio- 
neer days.  At  the  time  of  his  death  he  was  Register  of 
the  United  States  Land  Office  at  El  Centro. 

He  was  a  charter  member  of  the  Masonic  Lodge  at 
Imperial  and  an  active  member  of  the  Imperial  Coun- 
ty Bar  Association,  both  of  which  organizations  have 
been  quick  to  spread  upon  their  records  testimonials  to 
his  ability  and  his  character. 

In  a  sense,  then,  this  book,  representing  practically 
the  last  of  his  many  works  for  the  public  good,  will  be 
a  monument  to  his  memory,  and  in  the  years  to  come 
will  be  evidence  of  the  high  type  of  men  who  consti- 
tuted the  pioneers  of  Imperial  Valley,  and  who  under- 
took to  shape  its  development  to  the  lasting  good  of 
humanity. 


CONTENTS 


PART  I 

Chapter  I  page 

History  of  Imperial  County    I 

Chapter  II 
Formation  of  the  Colorado  Desert    82 

Chapter  III 
Early  History  of  Imperial  County    97 

Chapter  IV 
Irrigation  154 

Chapter  V 
Educational    159 

Chapter  VI 
Religious   167 

Chapter  VII 
Library  Development     177 

Chapter  VIII 
Agriculture   184 

Chapter  IX 
Horticulture     192 

Chapter  X 
Imperial  County  Farm  Bureau    198 

Chapter  XI 
Medical  History    209 

Chapter  XII 
Journalism    219 

Chapter  XIII 
Transportation    224 

Chapter  XIV 
Banking  227 

Chapter  XV 
Chambers  of  Commerce    233 


vi  CONTENTS 

Chapter  XVI  page 

Fraternal    238 

Chapter  XVII 
Architecture   243 

Chapter  XVIII 
Federation  of  Women's  Clubs    246 

Chapter  XIX 
Woman's  Christian  Temperance  Union    257 

Chapter  XX 
Imperial    264 

Chapter  XXI  " 
Calexico    269 

Chapter  XXII 
Brawley  272 

Chapter  XXIII 
Holtville    274 

Chapter  XXIV 
El  Centro     279 

Chapter  XXV 
Seeley    286 

Chapter  XXVI 
Calipatria  and  Niland    287 

Chapter  XXVII 
The  Mud  Volcanoes   291 

Chapter  XXVIII 
Live-Stock    293 

Chapter  XXIX 
The  Northern  District  of  Lower  California     296 

PART  II 

Biographical   311 


HISTORY  OF 
IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


CHAPTER  I 
HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

The  name  California  seems  to  have  been  derived  from  a  Spanish 
romance  published  in  1510.  The  author  there  speaks  of  the 
"Great  Island  of  California,  where  a  great  abundance  of  gold 
and  precious  stones  are  found."  This  story  attained  considerable  pop- 
ularity about  the  time  when  the  Cortez  exploring  expedition  reached 
that  undiscovered  country.  It  is  thought  that  some  of  the  officers  of 
that  party  who  had  read  this  romance  were  especially  pleased  with 
this  name.  It  was  euphonious  and  descriptive,  as  they  had  expected  to 
find  an  Eldorado  in  that  new  region  any  way,  because  the  early  Span- 
ish discoverers  had  so  promised. 

But  at  that  time  this  name  was  applied  only  to  the  lower  Pacific 
coast  and  the  adjacent  territory.  And  it  is  interesting  to  note  here  that 
this  San  Diego  section  was  on  the  border  line  of  Mexico,  being  then  a 
part  of  that  nation.  It  was  not  until  some  years  later  that  the  name 
California  was  applied  to  the  upper  part  of  that  country,  and  it  grad- 
ually extended  northward,  with  no  very  definite  limits.  These  Spanish 
Americans  divided  the  whole  territory  into  upper  and  lower  Califor- 
nia, as  it  has  since  been  known.  The  lower  coast  was  first  discovered  in 
1534  by  an  expedition  sent  out  by  Cortez,  who  later  found  the  Gulf  of 
California.  It  was  not  until  some  six  years  later  that  the  mouth  of  the 
Colorado  River  was  discovered  there.  And  it  was  not  until  1602  that 
the  Bay  of  San  Diego  was  located. 

As  a  matter  of  fact  the  physical  geography  of  a  very  large  portion 
of  this  great  country  was  very  imperfectly  known.  Few  of  the  resi- 
dents were  even  qualified  to  make  any  scientific  study  of  its  topography 
and  very  little  attention  was  given  to  the  subject,  especially  that  portion 
lying  on  the  immediate  coast  between  San  Diego  on  the  south  and  Fort 
Ross  on  the  north,  a  narrow  strip  of  land  forty  or  fifty  miles  in  width. 
In  fact  the  entire  California  region  was  a  very  indefinite  quantity  for 
many  years,  and  the  eastern  boundary  was  not  fully  located  or  deter- 


2  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

mined.  And  this  condition  remained  until  1850  when  it  passed  into  the 
ownership  of  the  United  States  and  became  one  of  the  states  of  the 
Union. 

But  this  work  is  devoted  to  the  southernmost  point  of  the  state  known 
as  Imperial  County,  which  is  the  youngest  and  newest  county  of  the 
great  Pacific  Commonwealth,  having  been  formed  in  1907  from  the 
eastern  portion  of  San  Diego  County. 

This  Imperial  Valley  lies  between  the  coast  range  of  mountains  and 
the  Colorado  River,  a  section  long  known  as  the  Colorado  Desert,  and 
for  ages  considered  worthless  and  irreclaimable.  North  of  this  great 
desert  is  the  eastern  extension  of  the  San  Bernardino  mountain  range, 
dry,  barren  and  worthless.  On  the  west  the  Coast  range  rises  to  a  height 
of  from  3000  to  5000  feet,  which,  on  the  desert  side,  is  also  dry  and 
barren.  Through  the  eastern  part  of  this  desert  is  a  range  of  sand-dunes 
which  extends  down  across  the  international  boundary  line,  terminating 
just  below.  Between  these  sand-dunes  on  the  east  and  the  Coast  range 
on  the  west,  there  is  a  vast,  level  plain  which,  before  its  reclamation, 
was  as  dry  and  barren  as  the  hills  and  sand-dunes  themselves.  Most  of 
this  plain  is  below  sea  level,  and  was  originally  an  extension  of  the  Cali- 
fornia Gulf. 

Some  sixty  miles  south  of  this  Mexican  boundary  line  the  great  Colo- 
rado River  tumbles  finally  into  the  gulf.  It  is  a  very  muddy  stream 
which  has  poured  into  this  gulf  for  untold  ages.  When  the  gulf  reached 
the  present  site  of  Indio  Station,  the  river  poured  into  it  about  150  miles 
southeast  of  that  place.  This  gulf  was  then  some  50  miles  wide  opposite 
the  ancient  mouth  of  the  river.  Gradually  the  Colorado  formed  a  bar 
across  the  gulf.  After  a  time  this  bar  was  raised  several  feet  above  high- 
water  mark,  and  this  cut  off  the  upper  portion  of  the  gulf  from  the 
main  body  of  water  and  formed  an  inland  sea  some  40  miles  in  width 
by  125  miles  in  length.  It  will  be  seen,  therefore,  that  the  flow  of  this 
river  for  ages  has  been  in  both  directions,  into  the  gulf  and  into  this  in- 
land sea.  In  this  way  large  masses  of  sediment  were  deposited  in  both 
places  not  only,  but  a  separating  bar  was  raised  35  to  80  feet  above  sea 
level,  an  increase  of  about  60  miles  in  width  from  south  to  north. 

Sometime  after  this  the  Colorado  began  to  pour  its  regular  flow  into 
the  gulf,  and  only  in  times  of  flood,  during  June  and  July,  was  the 
surplus  water  sent  into  the  inland  sea.  Then  finally,  when  the  permanent 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY  3 

flow  northward  ceased,  this  inland  sea  gradually  dried  up,  leaving  what 
is  known  as  the  "Salton  Basin,"  a  tract  100  miles  long  and  from  20  to 
50  miles  wide.  And  this  vast  area  was  all  below  the  level  of  the  sea.  The 
bottom  was  a  salt  marsh  5  x  25  miles  in  extent,  and  265  feet  below  the 
sea,  while  the  surrounding  land  sloped  gradually  toward  this  depression. 
Here  in  this  sink  the  Salton  Sea  was  formed  in  1891  as  a  result  of  the 
long  continued  flood  of  the  Colorado  stream.  It  began  with  heavy  rains 
in  February  and  was  afterward  augmented  by  the  regular  annual  flood 
in  June  and  July,  because  of  the  melting  snows  at  the  headwaters  of  the 
stream  in  Utah,  Wyoming  and  Colorado.  About  150  square  miles  of 
this  Salton  Sea  was  so  level  that  the  water  did  not  exceed  10  feet  in 
depth  at  any  point.  All  around  this  sea  were  a  million  acres  of  land  be- 
low sea  level,  half  of  which  is  arable,  irrigable,  and  especially  fertile. 
In  addition  to  this,  there  is  a  vast  expanse  of  country  south  of  the  inter- 
national boundary  line  which  extends  to  the  Gulf  of  California  on  the 
east.  Most  of  this  is  the  most  fertile  and  productive  land  in  the  world, 
and  it  covers  about  800,000  acres.  Of  this  vast  tract,  300,000  acres  are 
irrigable.  A  similar  acreage  is  subject  to  the  annual  flood  overflow  and 
some  100,000  acres  are  of  little  value  from  other  causes. 

IRRIGATION 

Here  was  a  golden  opportunity  to  test  the  value  of  irrigation  on  a  colos- 
sal scale.  It  was  destined  to  reclaim  millions  of  acres  of  the  most  fertile 
land  on  the  globe,  from  this  vast  California  section  which  had  been 
given  up  as  a  worthless  desert  since  its  first  discovery.  It  took  men  of 
courage  and  indomitable  persistence  with  a  full  knowledge  of  all  the 
conditions  and  obstacles  that  might  present  themselves,  even  to  begin 
this  stupendous  work.  And  yet  with  such  a  prize,  with  such  glowing 
possibilities  as  the  reward,  history  shows  that  the  men  for  the  task  usu- 
ally have  been  found. 

Thus  it  was  that  in  1856  Dr.  Oliver  M.  Wozencraft  of  San  Bernar- 
dino came  to  the  front  and  applied  to  Congress  for  a  land  grant  for  him- 
self and  his  associates  if  they  would  reclaim  the  lands.  The  application 
was  received  with  favor,  and  the  Committee  on  Public  Lands  reported 
in  favor  of  the  concession. 

But  soon  after  this  the  Civil  war  broke  out  and  threatened  to  disrupt 
the  Union.  There  was  no  time  to  think  of  any  new  projects  of  this  for- 


4  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

tuitous  nature.  The  plan  was  abandoned,  and  Dr.  Wozencraft  died  at 
his  home  with  the  pet  scheme  of  his  life  in  abeyance.  Then  for  over 
thirty  years  this  great  project  of  such  transcendent  importance  to  the 
nation,  and  especially  this  California  section,  lay  dormant. 

This  was  partly  due  to  the  reconstruction  period  of  the  national  life 
perhaps,  but  also  because  of  the  fact  that  no  successor  to  Dr.  Wozen- 
craft had  been  found.  But  the  project  was  too  great  to  die,  and  it  came 
to  the  front  again  in  1891  with  some  show  of  success.  Mr.  C.  R.  Rock- 
wood  was  given  charge  of  all  the  engineering  problems,  and  he  worked 
successfully  for  a  time.  But  now  the  financial  and  business  end  of  the 
enterprise  was  wrecked  in  the  panic  of  1893,  and  that  organization  was 
abandoned.  But  Mr.  Rockwood  still  had  faith  in  the  scheme  and  did  not 
propose  to  give  it  up.  Thus  in  1896,  allying  himself  with  a  new  element, 
the  California  Development  Company  was  duly  incorporated  with  a 
capital  stock  of  $1,250,000.  Among  these  incorporators  were  the  late 
A.  H.  Heber,  an  experienced  colonizer,  who  was  chosen  president;  C. 
R.  Rockwood,  chief  engineer;  Dr.  W.  T.  Heffernan,  and  W.  H.  Blais- 
dell,  both  of  Yuma.  These  men  had  an  abiding  faith  in  the  enterprise 
and  gave  material  assistance  in  the  early  work.  Money  was  promptly 
raised  and  extensive  surveys  were  made.  And  it  should  be  stated  here 
that  Dr.  Wozencraft  originally  planned  to  divert  the  water  from  the 
Colorado,  using  the  channel  of  the  Alamo  River  as  a  canal  for  that  pur- 
pose. And  this  plan  was  now  adopted  by  this  company.  One  hundred 
thousand  acres  of  land  in  Lower  California,  extending  from  the  Colo- 
rado on  the  east  to  the  mountains  on  the  west,  were  purchased  from 
Sr.  G.  Andrade,  thus  securing  a  right  of  way  through  this  foreign  terri- 
tory. 

Then  for  three  years  this  company  was  overtaken  by  new  vicissi- 
tudes. The  work  of  construction  could  not  proceed  for  the  lack  of  mon- 
ey. In  1899,  however,  S.  W.  Ferguson,  of  San  Francisco,  becoming  in- 
terested in  the  company,  was  duly  commissioned  to  finance  the  project 
among  his  friends  on  the  Pacific  Coast.  As  a  result  of  an  important  in- 
terview with  Mr.  L.  M.  Holt  in  San  Francisco,  he  came  to  Los  Ange- 
les and  was  introduced  to  Mr.  George  Chaffey,  one  of  the  founders  of 
Etiwanda  and  Ontario,  who  had  recently  returned  from  Australia, 
where  he  had  been  engaged  in  building  the  irrigation  system  of  Mildura 
on  the  Murray  River.  A  few  days  later  these  three  gentlemen  visited  the 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY  5 

desert  and  spent  three  weeks  investigating  the  advisability  of  the 
scheme.  Mr.  Rockwood,  who  was  then  in  New  York  City,  was  sent  for 
and  spent  several  weeks  more  with  Mr.  Chaffey  in  further  investiga- 
tions. The  latter,  though  much  pleased  with  the  enterprise,  was  not  quite 
satisfied  with  the  terms  offered  him,  and  he  therefore  declined  to  under- 
take the  work.  Mr.  Rockwood  was  about  to  return  to  New  York  and 
give  up  the  scheme.  But  Mr.  Holt,  being  still  sanguine  of  success, 
thought  he  could  formulate  a  plan  that  would  satisfy  all  parties  inter- 
ested, and  he  was  thereupon  authorized  to  go  ahead.  After  working 
some  weeks  on  this  proposition,  which  was  finally  submitted  to  Mr. 
Chaffey,  he  then  consented  to  undertake  the  work  on  this  basis.  Dr. 
Heffernan,  Mr.  Blaisdell  and  Mr.  Rockwood  were  consulted,  and  the 
result  was  that  Mr.  Chaffey  was  fully  authorized  to  begin  the  work.  He 
was  given  control  of  the  California  Development  Company  for  five 
years,  and  a  certain  portion  of  the  stock  of  that  company  if  he  suc- 
ceeded in  constructing  a  successful  irrigation  system  that  would  put 
water  upon  this  desert  land. 

About  this  time  the  Imperial  Land  Company,  the  colonizing  agency, 
was  incorporated,  of  which  Mr.  Ferguson  was  made  manager,  holding 
one-fifth  of  the  stock  of  that  company.  After  beginning  the  work,  how- 
ever, he  was  not  entirely  satisfied  with  his  share  of  the  bargain  and 
sought  a  power  of  attorney  from  Mr.  Holt  that  he  might  vote  his  one- 
fifth  share  of  the  stock  of  the  company  and  thus  gain  control  of  the 
corporation,  which  he  regarded  necessary  in  order  to  make  his  work 
effective.  With  this  stock  of  Mr.  Holt  he  expected  to  secure  enough 
more  to  give  him  the  control  he  desired.  But  Mr  .Holt  declined  this  re- 
quest, and  then  Mr.  Ferguson  sought  to  retaliate  by  forcing  him  out  of 
the  company.  In  order  to  avoid  any  conflict  at  this  stage  of  the  enter- 
prise, Mr.  Holt  finally  exchanged  his  stock  in  the  Imperial  Land  Com- 
pany for  that  of  the  California  Development  Company.  A  few  months 
later  Mr.  Ferguson's  management  became  so  undesirable  that  he  was 
asked  to  resign.  On  his  refusal  to  do  this  he  was  removed  soon  after- 
ward, and  all  his  interests  in  the  company  passed  into  other  hands. 

MORE  PRELIMINARY  TROUBLES 

Up  to  this  time  President  Heber  of  the  California  Company  had  not 
seemed  to  take  any  active  interest  in  its  affairs.  But  now  this  new  turn 


6  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

of  affairs  brought  him  to  the  front,  and  he  took  the  position  of  manager 
to  fill  the  vacancy. 

Thus  in  February,  1902,  Mr.  Heber'and  his  associates  purchased  the 
stock  of  Mr.  Chaffey,  who  thereupon  retired  from  the  company.  Mr. 
Heber  then  became  president  and  general  manager  of  the  California 
Company,  and  also  of  the  Imperial  Land  Company,  of  which  he  made 
E.  C.  Paulin  general  manager. 

Here  is,  therefore,  a  pretty  full  sketch  of  the  men,  capital,  and  vari- 
ous corporations  that  formed  this  combination  for  the  reclamation  and 
colonization  of  this  desert  land.  And  it  is  believed  to  be  the  most  exten- 
sive project  of  the  kind  ever  made  in  arid  America  up  to  this  time.  It 
involved  so  many  problems  which  could  only  be  solved  by  the  expendi- 
ture of  a  vast  sum  of  money  under  the  direction  of  the  most  eminent 
and  competent  engineers  in  the  country.  And  today  it  is  claimed  that 
there  is  no  other  place  in  America  where  these  works  can  be  duplicated, 
covering  such  a  vast  area  to  be  reclaimed  and  so  large  a  population  to 
be  served.  The  national  government  is  now  spending  more  money  on 
smaller  enterprises  for  the  reclamation  of  much  smaller  areas,  and  for 
the  benefit  of  a  much  smaller  population.  It  is  further  claimed  that  no 
other  place  under  the  Stars  and  Stripes  today  has  a  single  irrigation  sys- 
tem that  will  irrigate  so  large  an  area  and  furnish  homes  for  so  many 
people.  It  is  also  believed  that  no  other  large  area  in  the  land  can  be  re- 
claimed at  such  small  cost  per  acre,  or  where  the  water  can  be  perpetu- 
ally furnished  to  settlers  at  so  small  a  cost  per  acre-foot,  as  is  now  being 
done  by  this  Imperial  Canal  system  in  this  wonderful  Imperial  Valley 
over  the  portion  of  this  worthless  Colorado  Desert  which  has  been  res- 
cued by  the  hand  of  man  from  the  vast  sand-waste  which  the  great  Cre- 
ator seems  to  have  forgotten  to  finish. 

It  is  now  very  apparent,  however,  that  He  has  called  in  the  assistance 
of  men  in  the  reclamation  and  development  of  this  vast  territory,  and 
that  they  have  succeeded  beyond  all  precedent,  and  under  a  smiling 
providence,  this  great  valley  is  blossoming  with  an  unparalleled  degree 
of  fertility  and  productiveness. 

Back  of  all  this,  of  course,  is  the  subject  of  irrigation,  an  indispens- 
able prerequisite  to  the  reclamation  of  arid  lands.  But  for  this,  nearly 
half  the  area  of  this  republic  would  be  of  small  agricultural  value  today. 

In  Imperial  Valley  the  system  of  irrigation  in  use  is  the  most  com- 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY  7 

plete  possible  under  the  existing  law  of  California.  For  over  25  years 
the  whole  question  received  most  careful  study  by  enterprising  men  in 
Southern  California.  As  a  result  the  mutual  company  plan  was  finally 
adopted  for  the  ownership  and  management  of  the  Imperial  Canal  sys- 
tem as  far  as  that  plan  could  be  utilized.  The  first  obstacle  that  arose 
was  the  magnitude  of  the  enterprise.  Five  hundred  thousand  acres  of 
land  for  100,000  people  under  one  company  did  not  seem  entirely  fea- 
sible. It  was  therefore  decided  to  restrict  the  area  to  100,000  acres  for 
a  single  irrigation  system.  And  even  this  has  since  been  thought  too 
large.  With  100  voters  to  elect  a  board  of  directors  of  a  water  com- 
pany, there  is  a  much  greater  feeling  of  individual  personal  responsi- 
bility than  would  be  possible  if  1000  voters  shared  in  the  control.  And  if 
this  tract  was  sub-divided  into  40-acre  holdings,  there  would  be  2500 
voters,  which  might  not  secure  the  best  results. 

In  this  Imperial  Valley  there  are  538,000  acres  now  under  the  Impe- 
rial Canal  system,  while  still  barren  land  will  raise  the  total  to  nearly 
a  million.  It  was  therefore  decided  to  divide  the  Valley  into  districts,  no 
one  to  exceed  100,000  irrigable  acres ;  such  districts,  as  far  as  possible, 
to  have  natural  boundary  lines.  Then  it  was  thought  best  to  have  a  sep- 
arate company  for  each  of  these  districts,  all  such  companies  to  be  or- 
ganized on  a  similar  basis,  in  order  that  the  landowner  in  one  company 
should  have  the  same  rights  and  responsibilities  as  the  owner  in  each 
of  the  other  companies.  All  these  companies  should  have  the  same  name 
and  be  designated  only  by  number. 

Under  this  plan,  Imperial  Water  Company  No.  1  was  formed  with 
100,000  shares  of  stock  to  furnish  water  for  100,000  acres  of  land  in  a 
territory  bounded  on  the  west  by  New  River,  on  the  east  by  the  Alamo 
River,  on  the  south  by  the  Mexican  boundary  line,  and  on  the  north  by 
an  arbitrary  line  running  between  two  rows  of  sections.  While  this  tract 
exceeded  the  limit  by  some  50,000  acres,  only  100,000  were  regarded 
available  for  successful  irrigation.  And  yet  since  then  the  actual  irri- 
gable area  is  found  to  be  much  larger,  and  the  disposition  of  this  extra 
land  has  since  been  a  problem  with  the  company.  Since  then  other  com- 
panies of  this  kind  have  been  formed  and  now  reach  15  in  number. 

The  next  obstacle  to  present  itself  was  the  impossibility  of  all  these 
going  to  the  Colorado  River,  60  miles  away,  to  get  their  water  supply. 
But  this  was  finally  overcome  by  the  construction  of  a  canal  through 


8  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

foreign  territory,  which,  of  course,  added  greatly  to  the  cost,  and  made 
it  almost  prohibitory  for  a  small  company.  But  here  the  California  De- 
velopment Company,  which  financed  the  plan  for  the  construction  of 
the  canal  system,  and  owned  most  of  the  canals  through  Lower  Cali- 
fornia, agreed  to  such  contracts  as  were  necessary  to  deliver  water  to 
each  of  these  several  mutual  companies.  Under  this  agreement  this  par- 
ent company  was  to  keep  these  main  canals  in  repair  and  deliver  the 
water  in  bulk,  charging  a  uniform  price  of  50  cents  an  acre-foot.  That 
is,  50  cents  for  enough  water  to  cover  an  acre  of  land  one  foot  in  depth. 
This  is  practically  two  cents  an  inch  for  a  24  hours'  flow.  This  parent 
company  would  thus  construct  a  distributing  system  of  canals  for  the 
mutual  company  and  receive  in  payment  the  entire  capital  stock  of  such 
company.  This  stock  would  in  turn  be  sold  to  settlers  and  the  parent 
company  would  get  its  pay  for  the  construction  works  and  the  mutual 
company  would  get  its  distributing  system  built  and  paid  for  in  a  way 
that  would  leave  no  indebtedness.  The  landowners  would  thus  own  and 
operate  their  own  distributing  system  through  each  of  these  mutual 
companies.  The  water  rates  would  be  collected  from  the  settlers  in  Jan- 
uary and  July,  paying  the  development  company  for  all  the  water  re- 
ceived during  the  preceding  six  months.  Such  contracts  were  made  for 
the  permanent  delivery  of  water  at  a  fixed  price,  and  all  settlers  are 
served  alike.  In  this  way  each  settler  pays  50  cents  per  acre  for  his 
water  whether  he  uses  it  or  not.  It  will  be  seen  that  this  provision  pre- 
cludes speculators  from  taking  up  land  and  buying  water  stock  for  the 
same  and  then  wait  for  an  advance  in  price  to  sell  out  at  a  handsome 
margin  without  improving  the  land  at  all.  This  wise  provision  has  prov- 
en very  popular.  But  for  this  requirement  settlers  might  have  found 
themselves  surrounded  with  dry,  desert  lands  with  no  neighbors. 

Such  was  the  plan  at  the  beginning  of  development  of  the  Valley, 
and  it  ran  on  for  a  series  of  years,  but,  as  stated  in  a  separate  article 
herein,  the  time  came  when  the  people  threw  aside  the  private  corpora- 
tion owning  the  irrigation  system  and  acquired  it  for  themselves 
through  the  organization  of  the  Imperial  Irrigation  District,  under  the 
laws  of  the  state. 

SOME  OF  THE  RESULTS 

It  will  be  of  interest  to  record  here  what  has  really  been  done  under 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY  9 

this  great  reclamation  project  in  Imperial  County  thus  far.  Actual  work 
upon  the  system  was  begun  in  April,  1900,  and  the  first  water  was  deliv- 
ered to  the  fields  in  June,  1901.  In  the  following  July  there  were  about 
6000  acres  of  land  put  into  crops  in  order  to  feed  the  hundreds  of  teams 
working  on  the  canal  system.  In  1902  this  acreage  of  tillage  was  in- 
creased to  25,000,  and  the  next  year  this  was  doubled.  In  1904  this  cul- 
tivated area  was  increased  to  150,000  acres.  And  now  something  over 
250,000  acres  of  government  land  has  been  filed  upon  and  water  rights 
secured  for  the  same.  In  1903  the  California  Development  Company 
built  about  600  miles  of  canals,  some  of  which  are  70  feet  in  depth  at 
the  bottom  and  carry  water  ten  feet  deep. 

The  permanent  population  of  the  Valley  is  now  about  50,000,  and 
other  settlers  are  coming  in  rapidly.  Of  course,  as  the  wonderful  possi- 
bilities for  agricultural  development  became  apparent  railway  con- 
struction was  promptly  begun,  and  the  iron  horse  of  commercial  prog- 
ress soon  appeared  upon  the  scene.  The  Southern  Pacific  Company  built 
a  branch  line  of  28  miles  from  Old  Beach  to  Imperial,  soon  after  ex- 
tended to  Calexico,  another  16  miles,  and  thence  on  Mexican  soil  to 
Yuma,  Arizona.  On  this  branch  are  the  thriving  towns  of  Niland,  Cali- 
patria,  Brawley,  Imperial,  El  Centro,  Heber  and  Calexico.  A  12-mile 
cross  line  was  built  from  El  Centro  to  Holtville,  which  is  being  extend- 
ed westwardly  to  San  Diego,  now  reaching  the  towns  of  Seeley  and 
Dixieland.  Another  cross  line  has  recently  been  constructed  westwardly 
from  Calipatria  to  Westmoreland. 

This  shows  that  the  original  projectors  of  this  great  reclamation  en- 
terprise were  not  idle  dreamers,  "as  many  short-sighted  people  in  that 
region  even  had  openly  declared. 

This  great  Colorado  River  has  often  been  called  the  Nile  of  America 
because  of  the  rich  and  fertile  sediment  carried  down  by  its  waters,  and 
also  because  of  similarity  of  climate  and  water  supply. 

The  agricultural  development  has  run  in  well  marked  stages,  begin- 
ning on  the  new  land  as  each  section  was  developed,  with  barley,  alfalfa 
following,  and  then  coming  by  degrees  more  intensive  operations.  Bar- 
ley ranks  first  among  the  grains,  milo  following,  with  comparatively 
small  production  of  wheat.  But  in  late  years  cotton  has  become  the  chief 
crop  of  the  Valley  in  acreage  and  value.  Fat  cattle,  sheep  and  hogs  are 
shipped  in  great  numbers,  and  the  dairy  industry  has  taken  second  place 


IO  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

among  California  counties.  Imperial  County  leads  the  world  in  acreage 
of  cantaloupes,  while  grapes  and  asparagus  are  important  early  prod- 
ucts. But  for  the  slow  progress  of  propagation,  dates  would  long  before 
this  have  become  a  most  important  product.  The  annual  productive- 
ness of  Imperial  Valley  has  reached  a  range  of  from  twenty  to  forty 
million  dollars  a  year. 

The  products  of  this  reclaimed  land  have  already  been  increased  in 
number.  One  of  these  new  crops  is  the  Egyptian  long  staple  cotton, 
which  gives  very  profitable  crops  of  fibre  and  which  is  most  valuable  in 
the  textile  markets,  bringing  over  22  cents  a  pound  previous  to  the  re- 
cent advance  in  all  varieties  of  cotton  because  of  the  war. 

Of  course,  the  climate  of  this  Imperial  Valley  is  very  warm  in  sum- 
mer, from  April  to  October,  often  reaching  100  in  the  shade.  And  yet 
the  air  is  so  exceptionally  dry  as  to  permit  work  even  during  the  hot- 
test days  without  great  discomfort.  The  wet  and  dry  bulb  thermometers 
show  a  greater  variation  than  in  a  humid  country,  being  about  five  de- 
grees in  the  latter  during  the  summer  and  about  31  degrees  in  this 
valley. 

SOME  EARLY  IRRIGATION   HISTORY 

This  having  been  the  supreme  creative  factor  in  the  reclamation  of  this 
great  desert  waste  makes  it  imperative  that  some  specific  mention  should 
be  made  here.  But  the  reader  will  find  this  subject  treated  with  scientific 
detail  in  subsequent  chapters  of  this  work  by  the  most  competent  au- 
thority in  the  land.  And  this  man  once  dreamed  of  writing  a  romantic 
history  of  this  wonderful  valley.  And  if  space  were  at  command  in  this 
volume  a  thrilling  and  racy  thread  of  romance  could  be  interwoven  in 
this  story-fabric  of  detail  that  begins  with  the  discovery  of  this  sandy- 
sink  of  the  Colorado  Desert,  and  follows  down  the  years  of  its  develop- 
ment and  reclamation  until  the  glowing  results  of  today  were  reached. 

But  for  irrigation  there  could,  of  course,  have  been  no  Imperial  Val- 
ley nor  any  Imperial  County  to  write  about. 

Without  entering  deeply  into  the  ancient  history  of  irrigation  and 
the  date  of  its  origin,  it  may  be  said  that  modern  scientists  seem  to  agree 
that  it  was  in  use  in  very  ancient  times,  and  was  used  in  this  hemisphere 
at  the  dawn  of  civilization.  Early  explorers  found  extensive  and  suc- 
cessful systems  in  Mexico,  Central  America  and  Peru.  Even  in  our 
own  land  are  traces  of  early  irrigation  projects  that  had  been  carried 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY  H 

out  along  the  Colorado,  Rio  Grande  and  Gila  Rivers.  In  India  some  of 
the  most  costly  and  magnificent  engineering  enterprises  of  this  kind  are 
found  today.  And  most  of  the  foreign  countries  are  operating  extensive 
systems  of  this  kind. 

Modern  reclamation  in  America  in  1890  had  nearly  four  million 
arid  acres  to  its  credit.  But  these  systems  were  in  no  way  comparable 
with  those  used  in  this  Imperial  Valley  in  extent.  The  reclaimed  area  in 
this  valley  at  this  time  is  far  greater  than  was  the  total  in  the  southern 
third  of  California  in  1890.  In  India  there  are  twenty-five  million  acres 
of  such  land,  in  Egypt  about  six  millions,  Italy  about  three  millions, 
France  400,000,  and  in  the  United  States  about  four  millions  of  arid 
acres.  Thus  some  forty  millions  of  arid  acres  have  been  brought  under 
successful  cultivation  by  irrigation.  Not,  however,  until  1902  was  the 
construction  of  irrigation  systems  under  the  control  of  the  Secretary  of 
the  Interior  begun.  This  plan  has  been  successfully  carried  out  since 
then  by  the  Reclamation  service,  the  sole  purpose  being  the  transforma- 
tion of  desert  lands  into  attractive  and  productive  farm  property. 

The  Colorado  Desert  was  visited  at  least  by  military  parties  in  1846, 
and  geological  investigations  were  made  in  1853.  It  was  surveyed  by 
government  contractors  in  1855  and  1856,  and  the  overland  stations 
were  established  there  in  1858.  It  was  resurveyed  in  1880,  and  finally 
crossed  by  the  railway  soon  after.  The  reclamation  project  was  pro- 
posed in  1892,  and  again  in  1902,  which  finally  resulted  in  the  adoption 
of  the  irrigation  scheme.  Since  that  time  the  enterprise  has  been  duly 
exploited  in  the  public  press. 

This  tract  in  1846,  being  still  a  part  of  the  Mexican  territory,  was 
frequently  visited  by  Mexican  desperadoes,  and  General  Phil  Kearny's 
famous  expedition  by  the  Santa  Fe  Trail  to  the  coast  crossed  the  Valley. 
With  this  expedition  was  a  corps  of  government  engineers  who  were 
to  make  observations  and  report  as  to  the  topography,  natural  history 
and  geography  of  the  region.  The  date  of  this  report  was  November, 
1855.  It  stated  that  at  the  ford  of  the  Colorado,  where  the  engineers 
crossed,  the  river  was  1500  feet  wide  and  flowed  at  the  rate  of  1^2 
miles  per  hour,  the  greatest  depth  there  being  four  feet.  The  banks 
were  not  over  four  feet  high,  and  evidences  of  overflow  were  found. 
The  water  was  torpid  and  hence  immense  drifts  of  sand  were  encoun- 
tered. A  few  days  later  a  basin  or  lake  was  reached  (probably  Badger 


I2  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

Lake,  now  dry)  and  this  was  then  about  Ya^A  mile  in  extent  and  too 
salt  for  the  use  of  man  or  beast.  Their  report  of  this  desert  contained 
this :  "Ninety  miles  from  water  to  water  is  an  immense  triangular  plain 
bounded  on  one  side  by  the  Colorado  River,  on  the  west  by  the  Cordil- 
leras of  California,  on  the  northeast  by  a  chain  of  mountains  running 
southeast  and  northwest."  This  report  has  a  record  of  many  hardships 
endured  by  the  men  under  Lieutenant  W.  H.  Morey,  who  was  in  charge. 
They  had  a  sharp  engagement  with  the  Mexicans  at  Los  Angeles,  where 
he  planted  the  American  flag  to  stay,  however. 

Another  military  expedition  was  sent  out  in  1853  under  Lieutenant 
Williamson,  with  Professor  William  P.  Blake  as  naturalist,  who  after- 
ward wrote  a  graphic  description  of  the  desert  and  the  result  of  his 
geological  studies  there.  He  concluded  that  the  physical  aspects  of  the 
desert  were  due  to  flood  erosion  upon  rocks  near  Palm  Springs.  He  also 
predicted  that  potable  water  could  be  obtained  from  artesian  wells  in 
that  region,  which  proved  true  35  years  later,  and  again  by  the  engineers 
of  the  Southern  Pacific  railway. 

In  1858  the  first  overland  mail  route  between  St.  Louis  and  San  Fran- 
cisco was  established,  it  being  known  as  the  Butterfield  Stage  Line.  This 
trip  took  22  days  and  was  made  every  two  weeks.  There  were  three 
stage  stations  on  the  desert.  That  same  year,  however,  America  had  a 
much  more  important  event  to  record  in  that  region.  This  was  the  dis- 
covery of  the  possibility  of  reclaiming  this  Colorado  Desert.  Dr.  Oliver 
M.  Wozencraft,  a  native  of  Ohio,  who  had  been  educated  in  Kentucky, 
was  the  first  man  who  seriously  proposed  to  bring  the  waters  of  the 
Colorado  River  into  this  sink  for  the  purpose  of  agriculture  by  irriga- 
tion. Like  many  other  men  who  have  conceived  great  ideas  ahead  of 
their  time,  Dr.  Wozencraft  was  laughed  at  as  an  airy  dreamer  at  the 
time.  But  he  had  this  project  so  thoroughly  mapped  out  in  his  mind 
that  had  it  not  been  for  the  breaking  out  of  the  Civil  war  in  i860,  the 
full  consummation  of  his  plans  would  probably  have  been  carried  out, 
or  at  least  begun  at  that  very  time.  And  it  is  interesting  to  note  here  that 
his  original  ideas  were  very  similar  to  those  embodied  in  the  final  proj- 
ect which  were  carried  out  so  many  years  later.  But  he  joined  the  great 
gold  rush  in  1849,  being  the  Indian  agent  at  the  time.  He  was  also  in- 
strumental in  securing  the  railway  line  from  the  east  to  cross  this  des- 
ert. In  his  diary  of  that  time  he  describes  most  graphically  his  first  ex- 


t  8  2 


Sill 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY  13 

cursion  to  that  region  in  May,  1849,  which  might  well  be  quoted  here 
in  full  if  space  permitted.  It  was  on  this  trip  when  he  first  conceived  the 
idea  of  reclaiming  this  great  desert.  He  presented  his  scheme  to  the 
California  Legislature,  which  promptly  ceded  him  all  state  rights  in  the 
construction  of  his  proposed  reclamation  plan  of  this  desert  waste.  He 
next  took  the  matter  to  Congress,  where  he  received  a  favorable  report 
from  the  committee  in  charge.  But  then  the  crash  of  arms  at  Fort 
Sumter  prevented  any  further  action  at  the  time.  At  the  close  of  the 
war  he  lost  no  time  in  the  prosecution  of  his  one  absorbing  purpose. 
But  during  the  troubles  attendant  upon  the  reconstruction  period  after 
the  war  it  was  crowded  aside  from  time  to  time  in  the  maze  of  national 
affairs.  Thus  on  the  eve  of  the  session  in  1887,  when  another  hearing 
had  been  promised  him,  he  was  suddenly  stricken  ill  and  died.  In  writ- 
ing of  her  father's  pet  project  afterward,  his  daughter  said  he  had  lost 
a  fortune  and  had  finally  given  up  his  life  in  the  effort  to  achieve  suc- 
cess. And  yet  some  think  he  was  ahead  of  his  time,  the  precise  period 
for  the  consummation  of  his  project,  even  if  successfully  carried  out 
at  that  time,  might  not  have  proved  for  the  best  interests  of  the  region. 
The  railway  was  not  built  until  20  years  later.  And  yet  Dr.  Wozencraft 
is  still  credited  as  being  the  "father  of  the  Imperial  Valley." 

THE  COLORADO  ASSERTS  ITSELF 

Among  the  first  travelers  on  the  new  railway  line  was  Mr.  H.  S.  Wor- 
thington  of  Kentucky.  He,  too,  saw  the  great  latent  possibilities  that 
presented  themselves  in  this  valley  and  he  enlisted  the  interest  of  finan- 
cial friends  in  the  matter,  and  tried  to  induce  eastern  capitalists  to  join 
in  the  project.  But  nothing  came  of  it.  Then  in  1883  the  New  Liverpool 
Salt  Company  viewed  the  matter  from  a  wholly  different  side.  They 
filed  on  some  of  this  salt  land,  leased  a  portion  of  the  railway  and  went 
to  work  scraping  the  salt  in  vast  layers  from  many  square  miles  of  these 
salt  bottoms,  using  steam  plows  and  then  purifying  the  product.  It  was 
the  economic  and  business  end  of  the  proposition  as  it  then  presented 
itself  which  appealed  to  this  company.  And  their  profits  were  large  until 
the  great  Colorado  River  came  down  as  of  yore  and  protested  to  such 
a  mercenary  perversion  of  its  natural  advantages.  This  flood  came  in 
1905,  1906  and  1907,  and  the  salt  company's  plant  was  wiped  out  com- 
pletely for  all  time.  Then  the  great  river  had  its  way  and  left  a  great 


M 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


lake  sleeping  in  the  sun,  which  finally  absorbed  the  water  and  left  an- 
other great  waste. 

But  now  the  great  transformation  was  close  at  hand.  The  Colorado 
was  here  flowing  nearly  fifty  feet  above  the  sea,  while  the  floor  of  the 
valley,  in  some  places,  was  150  feet  below  the  sea.  It  was  thus  easy  for 
the  engineer  to  see  the  possibilities  for  irrigation  of  this  great  sunken 
valley.  The  railway  crossing  this  desert  made  a  ready  market  for  all 
products  of  the  soil.  And  yet  at  that  time  little  was  known  of  the  mar- 
velous fertility  of  this  salt  sediment.  But  the  early  settlers  were  im- 
pressed with  the  combination  of  favoring  conditions.  Careful  observers 
and  writers  of  that  period  began,  even  in  January,  1901,  to  predict  won- 
drous things  for  the  Valley  under  proper  irrigation. 

It  was  seen  that  the  territory  was  distinctly  an  agricultural  section, 
and  must  depend  upon  that  feature  alone  for  success  after  its  reclama- 
tion. Government  students  found  five  kinds  of  soil  in  this  basin :  dune 
sand,  sand,  sandy  loam,  loam  and  clay.  This  material  had  blown  into 
the  desert  from  the  beaches  on  the  west  and  northwest,  and  would 
eventually,  in  combination  with  the  other  soils,  form  good  arable  land, 
they  thought.  The  underlying  subsoil  had  much  organic  matter,  includ- 
ing nitrogen  and  potash.  And  yet  it  was  said  that  less  than  one  per  cent 
of  all  the  land  in  this  basin  would  prove  worthless  for  high  cultivation. 
But  the  result  was  far  better  than  any  had  hoped  for. 

At  Yuma  this  Colorado  water  was  analyzed  and  found  to  carry  silt 
having  a  fertilizing  value  of  $1.65  to  each  three-acre  foot.  Climate,  soil 
and  air  therefore  here  formed  a  combination  of  necessary  factors  for 
productive  success  in  this  Imperial  Valley.  The  Secretary  of  Agricul- 
ture at  Washington  in  1910  said:  "We  must  look  to  the  west,  especially 
the  reclaimed  west,  to  add  sufficiently  to  our  productive  area,  and  to 
care  for  the  increased  demand  which  the  next  few  years  will  show." 

Here  was  the  Southern  Pacific  railway,  with  enormous  capital  and 
every  facility,  controlled  by  men  keenly  alive  to  the  importance  of  the 
business  of  this  Valley,  who  knew  that  the  company's  interests  were 
closely  connected  with  the  development  of  the  Valley.  Of  course,  the 
early  settlers  were  confronted  with  the  high  cost  of  transportation  and 
living  expenses  generally.  But  this  was  materially  offset  by  cheap  poul- 
try, eggs,  dairy  products,  honey  and  some  vegetables.  Water  for  domes- 
tic use  in  the  midst  of  a  desert  with  streams  of  alkali  deposits  was,  of 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY  15 

course,  a  serious  problem  at  first.  And  yet  it  was  found  that  during  eight 
months  of  the  year,  after  proper  filtration,  this  water  was  potable  and 
even  healthful. 

Such,  then,  were  some  of  the  economic  conditions  that  prevailed  in 
this  Imperial  Valley  in  the  summer  of  1902  when  the  district  had  al- 
ready become  a  recognized  factor  in  the  scheme  of  reclamation.  The 
towns  of  Calexico  and  Imperial  were  well  organized  and  the  population 
was  increasing.  And  yet  it  must  be  said  there  was  some  anxiety  regard- 
ing the  narrow  stream  of  water  flowing  from  the  Colorado  to  the  dis- 
tributing canals  of  the  mutual  water  companies.  Anything  that  might 
interfere  with  the  even  flow  of  this  water  would,  of  course,  endanger 
the  whole  enterprise.  But  the  commercial  progress  of  the  region  during 
1902  and  1903  continued  rapid  and  was  greatly  accelerated  by  the  con- 
struction of  the  branch  railway  from  the  Southern  Pacific  at  Old  Beach, 
though  only  grading  had  been  begun  on  this  contract  at  first.  The  com- 
pany soon  took  up  the  work  in.  earnest  and  the  road  was  completed 
early  in  1903.  This  gave  the  Valley  a  great  boom.  In  April  of  that  year 
the  total  acreage  in  crops  was  about  25,000,  6220  in  wheat,  14,423  in 
barley  and  smaller  areas  in  other  grains  and  alfalfa.  Then  there  were 
large  areas  devoted  to  fruit,  melons  and  other  vegetables.  These  crops 
would  have  been  much  larger  in  fact  but  for  the  inadequate  supply  of 
canals  owing  to  financial  difficulties.  But  in  the  following  year  this  acre- 
age had  been  increased  to  100,000  and  the  population  to  about  7000.  In 
1904  the  steam  railway  line  had  been  extended  to  Calexico,  which  was 
already  a  thriving  trade  center.  The  towns  of  Brawley  and  Silsbee  were 
next  reached  by  the  canal  system,  and  water  companies  Nos.  4,  5  and  7 
began  operations.  The  town  of  Imperial  grew  with  marvelous  rapidity, 
a  fine  hotel  and  various  other  business  houses  being  built.  About  that 
time  the  Imperial  Land  Company  became  an  important  factor  in  the 
progress  and  development  of  this  place.  But  at  this  stage  some  defect 
was  discovered  in  construction  at  the  Hanlon  headgate.  It  was  found 
too  small,  and  the  money  needed  to  remedy  the  evil  could  not  be  had  at 
that  time.  In  addition  to  this,  the  Department  of  Agriculture  at  Wash- 
ington made  an  attack  upon  the  soil  and  they  also  claimed,  through  the 
Reclamation  Service  officials,  that  Imperial  Valley  had  really  no  right 
to  use  this  Colorado  water.  But  as  usual,  these  matters  were  temporar- 
ily adjusted  and  overcome  for  the  time,  however.  But  there  were  vari- 


id  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNT? 

ous  other  obstacles  of  a  kindred  nature  that  were  encountered  after- 
ward, due,  in  part,  to  an  excessive  amount  of  silt  that  was  being  thrown 
into  the  canal  by  the  Colorado  River.  There  were  then  about  9000  peo- 
ple in  that  valley  and  their  crops  covered  some  150,000  acres.  They  all 
wanted  water  and  must  have  it.  But  even  this  was  soon  remedied,  and 
the  clouds  that  had  hung  over  the  years  of  1905,  1906  and  1907  all  van- 
ished. But  it  was  the  begninning  of  the  end  of  the  California  Develop- 
ment Company. 

SOME  OF  THE  RESULTS 

According  to  a  report  made  in  1913,  there  were  then  about  250,000  re- 
claimed acres  under  cultivation  in  this  Imperial  Valley.  The  soil  seemed 
well  adapted  to  the  growth  of  practically  every  crop  that  was  grown  in 
the  United  States,  with  very  few  exceptions,  such  as  some  of  the  decid- 
uous fruits,  which  required  a  period  of  frost  and  snow  which  are  never 
known  in  this  Valley.  A  leading  crop  pf  late  has  been  the  alfalfa  plant, 
which  can  be  cut  from  six  to  nine  times  each  year  with  an  average  of 
one  ton  to  each  cutting.  It  can  also  be  used  for  forage  part  of  the  year 
and  cut  later  for  fodder.  It  remains  green  all  through  the  year,  although 
in  December  and  January  the  cool  nights  retards  the  growth.  And  yet 
alfalfa  is  still  considered  one  of  the  greatest  wealth  producers  in  the 
Valley.  As  a  producer  of  beef,  pork  and  mutton,  it  is  without  an  equal. 
Farmers  are  reaping  enormous  profits  from  their  alfalfa  fields.  In  three 
years  a  plot  of  ground  rented  for  some  $500  attained  a  value  of  $16,000. 
Good  alfalfa  land  is  now  worth  about  $175  per  acre  and  rents  for  about 
$15  an  acre  per  year. 

Among  the  newer  crops,  however,  in  this  region  is  cotton,  which  is 
being  very  successfully  grown,  and  yields  a  bale  per  acre.  Already  there 
are  many  cotton  gins  in  operation,  and  at  El  Centro  and  Calexico  there 
are  cottonseed-oil  mills,  which,  after  extracting  the  oil,  grind  the  seed 
into  meal.  The  different  varieties  of  corn  do  well  here,  and  often  two 
crops  are  secured  in  a  season,  except  from  the  Indian  corn.  The  first 
crop  can  be  cut  down  and  another  crop  grown  without  replanting.  Bar- 
ley is  also  a  sure  crop  and  yields  from  18  to  35  sacks  per  acre.  Used  as 
hay  for  fodder,  it  yields  from  two  to  four  tons  an  acre. 

Livestock  of  all  kinds  is  extensively  raised  throughout  the  entire  Val- 
ley. And  it  is  said  that  here  the  yearlings  attain  the  size  and  growth  of 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY  iy 

the  two-year-old  in  any  other  part  of  the  stock-growing  sections  of  the 
country.  This  is  attributed  to  the  continuous  feed  of  green  fodder  and 
the  escape  of  the  rigors  of  winter.  Many  large  cattle  companies  are 
already  established  here. 

Another  most  attractive  and  profitable  product  in  this  Valley  is  the 
cantaloupe.  A  leading  center  of  this  growing  industry  is  Brawley.  Near- 
ly 3000  carloads  of  this  delicious  table  dessert  are  annually  shipped 
from  this  point,  and  the  returns  are  from  $100  to  $300  per  acre.  This 
product  is  now  being  rapidly  increased,  a  larger  acreage  being  devoted 
to  its  culture.  Oranges  and  lemons  have  not  been  a  commercial  success, 
but  grapefruit  is  grown  most  successfully.  The  apricot  is  another  very 
valuable  fruit  product  here,  yielding  from  $500  to  $750  per  acre  in  fav- 
orable seasons  under  proper  culture.  Large  returns  from  the  growth  of 
asparagus  are  also  reported.  It  is  shipped  in  carload  lots  to  New  York 
and  Chicago  in  February  and  March.  One  rancher  cleared  $10,000  from 
this  vegetable  alone  in  1912,  from  45  acres  of  land.  After  the  shipping 
season  closes  it  is  canned  for  market.  Dates  are  also  a  very  profitable 
crop,  often  yielding  300  pounds  per  tree,  worth  from  fifty  cents  to  one 
dollar  a  pound.  Table  grapes  are  also  doing  well  in  the  Valley,  and 
there  are  several  large  vineyards.  Muscats,  Malagas,  Thompson's  Seed- 
less and  a  few  Persian  sorts  are  usually  grown.  They  ripen  late  in  June 
and  are  thus  off  the  market  when  other  sections  begin  to  ship,  thus  se- 
curing the  top  price. 

Such  is  merely  a  brief  summary  of  a  few  of  the  products  of  this  mar- 
velous Valley  where  the  land  valuations  have  increased  from  nothing 
in  1900  to  $14,000,000  in  1912,  and  $20,000,000  to  $40,000,000  now. 
Since  1912,  however,  the  construction  of  the  new  High  Line  Canal  east 
of  the  Alamo  River  has  added  some  125,000  acres  for  cultivation.  This 
extends  from  the  Mexican  boundary  to  the  Southern  Pacific  main  line 
tracks.  Much  of  this  was  part  of  the  government  grant  to  this  company. 

It  is  therefore  apparent  that  the  water  supply  in  this  vast  area  is  in- 
exhaustible, and  it  is  furnished  to  the  farmers  at  very  low  cost.  It  fur- 
ther appears  that  the  soil  of  this  Valley  is  the  richest  and  most  fertile 
to  be  found  in  the  American  Union  today. 

In  the  east  it  is  very  common  to  denounce  the  prevalent  practice  in 
financial  circles  of  "watering  stocks" — watering  stocks  of  companies, 
corporations  and  securities  of  every  name  and  nature.  The  practice  has 


^  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

resulted  in  loss  or  ruin  to  millions  of  victims  all  over  the  land.  All  man- 
ner of  legal  restrictions  have  been  resorted  to  by  legislatures  to  prevent 
such  frauds.  But  on  the  whole  success  has  been  very  scant  and  indiffer- 
ent at  best. 

But  here  in  this  great  Imperial  Valley  of  California  water  has  really 
done  the  whole  trick  and  proved  the  salvation  of  thousands.  We  call  it 
"irrigation"  here,  as  it  might  also  be  termed  in  the  east.  But  in  this  Val- 
ley it  has  completely  transformed  a  vast  desert  waste  of  only  a  few 
years  ago  into  a  glorious  garden  of  fertility  and  production  where  thou- 
sands of  people  are  now  dwelling  in  comfort  and  prosperity.  And  the 
end  is  not  yet  in  sight. 

IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

This  being  among  the  latest  productions  of  this  wonderful  Valley,  ref- 
erence to  it  in  this  record  has  been  deferred  to  this  later  chapter.  It  is, 
of  course,  very  evident  that  no  such  civil  division  could  have  been  creat- 
ed here  until  there  was  a  place  to  put  it,  or  even  something  to  make  it 
from.  Then,  too,  there  was  no  necessity  for  it,  and  the  settlers  were  too 
busy  with  other  things  of  more  importance  to  their  present  existence, 
and  did  not  feel  the  need  of  any  such  local  government.  It  was  even 
doubtful  whether  there  were  any  political  aspirants  in  the  region  as  yet. 
This  class  of  idle  diplomats  is  rarely  found  among  the  pioneers  of  un- 
developed lands.  They  come  in  later  after  the  way  of  progress  has 
been  duly  blazed. 

All  this  territory  had  been  included  in  San  Diego  County  from  a 
much  earlier  period.  This  great  desert  region  had  always  been  regarded 
as  the  most  worthless  part  of  that  old  county.  Nobody  ever  expected 
that  anything  good  could  come  out  of  this  vast  salt  marsh  and  sandy 
waste.  But  in  July,  1907,  a  petition  having  been  received  from  some  of 
the  leading  residents  of  that  Valley  for  a  division  of  the  old  county  and 
creation  of  a  new  county  in  this  Valley,  a  resolution  was  finally  passed 
by  the  San  Diego  Board  of  Supervisors  calling  for  an  election  to  pass 
on  this  question.  The  proposed  line  of  division  was  the  section  line  be- 
tween ranges  eight  and  nine  of  the  San  Bernardino  Mountains.  The 
territory  embraced  in  this  new  county  approximated  4000  square  miles 
in  extent  and  then  had  a  population  of  20,320. 

This  election  was  accordingly  held  on  August  6,  1907.  Then,  on  Aug- 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY  19 

ust  12,  the  vote  having  been  almost  unanimous  for  the  erection  of  the 
new  county,  its  birth  was  promptly,  though  not  very  loudly,  announced. 
There  is  no  special  record  of  any  public  proclamation  or  celebration  of 
the  event.  In  fact,  these  settlers  were  not  given  to  demonstrations  of 
this  character.  Meanwhile,  however,  there  had  been  an  active  contest 
for  the  location  of  the  county  seat,  especially  between  the  friends  of  Im- 
perial and  El  Centro.  The  result  was  that  the  latter,  though  much 
younger  than  Imperial,  won  the  victory  by  a  very  small  margin  of 
votes.  This  led  to  a  close  contest  which  for  a  time  came  near  being 
taken  to  the  courts  for  decision.  But  better  counsel  prevailed  in  the 
end  and  a  board  of  supervisors  was  duly  elected  for  the  new  county. 
The  first  session  of  this  local  legislature  was  held  in  the  Valley  State 
Bank  building  when  Mr.  F.  S.  Webster,  of  the  third  district,  was  cho- 
sen chairman.  And  in  this  place  it  is  significant  to  record  that  the  very 
first  measure  which  was  adopted  by  these  pioneer  officials  and  settlers 
here  assembled  as  local  lawmakers,  was  an  ordinance  prohibiting  the 
sale  or  distribution  of  malt  or  spirituous  liquors  anywhere  in  the  coun- 
ty except  under  the  most  rigorous  restrictions.  The  third  ordinance, 
passed  at  a  subsequent  meeting,  was  a  measure  prohibiting  gambling  or 
betting.  This  will  give  some  idea  of  the  general  character  and  personal 
motives  of  these  early  settlers  from  a  moral  standpoint  at  least.  They 
were  determined  to  begin  right,  and  they  did,  for  these  laws  were  duly 
enforced. 

The  first  sheriff  was  Mr.  Mobley  Meadows,  and  he  secured  a  tempor- 
ary courthouse  in  a  part  of  an  old  furniture  warehouse  and  real  estate 
office.  Two  of  these  rooms  were  set  apart  for  a  jail  in  which  to  confine 
malefactors.  It  seems  that  the  parent  county  of  San  Diego  had  refused 
to  divide  up  a  proper  share  of  the  public  moneys  to  the  new  county.  But 
these  pioneers  were  not  contentious,  and  after  a  time  a  satisfactory  set- 
tlement of  the  whole  matter  was  made  in  an  amicable  manner. 

Near  the  close  of  1907  a  fine  new  jail  structure  had  been  completed 
and  the  county  offices  were  removed  to  the  new  building.  Two  years 
later  a  site  for  a  permanent  courthouse  building  was  selected  west  of 
the  Date  Canal.  But  sometime  before  this  the  first  newspaper  in  the 
town  was  established.  The  importance  and  value  of  a  newspaper  in  the 
progress  and  development  of  any  new  country,  and  especially  in  this 
Valley  county,  cannot  be  overestimated,  and  this  well-edited  sheet  was 


20  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

fully  recognized  by  these  intelligent  and  enterprising  people,  who  have 
given  it  proper  support. 

El  Centro. — The  town  of  El  Centro,  now  the  capital  of  the  new 
county,  had  antedated  the  county  itself  by  some  two  years  in  its  organ- 
ization. The  townsite  belonged  to  Mr.  W.  F.  Holt,  and  a  flag  station 
named  Cabarker  had  been  established  there  by  the  Southern  Pacific 
Railway.  Mr.  Holt  sold  this  site  to  a  Redlands  syndicate  which  exploited 
it  under  the  name  of  El  Centro,  which  has  been  retained  ever  since. 
There  was  a  hotel  which  had  been  moved  over  from  Imperial,  two  small 
residences  owned  by  Dr.  Anderson,  also  moved  from  Imperial,  and  a 
small  real  estate  office  on  Main  Street.  Water  was  received  from  a  lat- 
eral ditch  leading  from  the  canal  west  of  the  town.  The  construction  of 
the  present  El  Centro  hotel  was  soon  begun  and  also  the  Holt  Opera 
House.  And  yet,  it  must  be  said,  that  this  shire  town  of  the  county  then 
contained  only  about  a  dozen  permanent  settlers.  But  the  abounding 
faith  in  the  rapid  development  of  that  region,  which  had  animated  these 
people  from  the  beginning,  actuated  them  still.  And  today  El  Centro  has 
a  population  of  7500  and  a  total  of  building  operations  in  a  year  of 
nearly  one  million  dollars.  In  1912  the  various  industrial  structures 
there  were  valued  at  $241,900;  commercial  buildings,  $83,300;  educa- 
tional structures,  $65,000;  residences,  churches  and  hospitals,  $16,400; 
hotels,  restaurants,  etc.,  $15,700,  a  total  of  over  half  a  million  dollars. 
There  were  81  new  residences  built  that  year  at  an  average  cost  of 
$2000.  And  the  total  assessment  of  the  land  has  increased  $10,000,000. 
All  this  was  accomplished  in  six  years. 

The  Town  of  Imperial. — This  was  staked  out  by  the  Imperial  Land 
Company  in  the  geographical  center  of  the  irrigable  area  in  the  fall  of 
1900.  Dr.  W.  T.  Heffernan  was  the  pioneer  merchant,  who  built  a  store 
there  and  stocked  it  with  general  merchandise.  A  tent  hotel  was  opened 
by  Millard  F.  Hudson  about  the  same  time,  and  a  house  for  religious 
worship  for  the  Christian  Church  was  built  in  1901.  And  here  again  the 
printing  press  took  its  place  in  the  front  rank  of  public  endeavor.  It 
was  the  Imperial  Press,  edited  by  Mr.  Henry  C.  Reid,  whose  daughter 
Ruth  was  the  first  baby  born  in  the  town.  The  pastor  of  this  first  church 
was  the  Rev.  John  C.  Hay,  whose  initial  congregation  numbered  just  six 
persons.  Mr.  W.  F.  Holt  and  Le  Roy  Holt  and  his  wife  were  of  this 
number.  But  the  town  now  began  to  grow  rapidly  in  size  and  import- 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY  21 

ance.  The  Imperial  Land  Company  opened  a  new  hotel  in  the  summer  of 
1904.  Mr.  Reid  guided  the  destinies  of  the  Imperial  Press  from  May 
until  October  in  1901,  when  he  was  succeeded  by  Edgar  F.  Howe.  Dur- 
ing Mr.  Reid's  control  he  published  a  graphic  sketch  of  the  new  town 
as  he  first  saw  it  in  March,  1901.  Material  had  arrived  for  the  erection 
of  the  Press  building,  together  with  living  apartments  for  the  editor  and 
his  family.  This  structure  was  soon  a  reality  through  the  efforts  of  a 
jolly  bunch  of  friends  under  the  command  of  W.  F.  Holt.  The  printing 
machinery  was  in  place  while  the  walls  and  roof  were  being  built  around 
it  and  even  while  the  first  edition  of  the  paper  was  being  put  in  type. 
When  it  is  stated  that  the  fixed  population  of  the  desert  city  that  first 
summer  was  less  than  a  dozen,  it  will  be  seen  that  the  editor's  neighbors 
were  not  very  numerous.  How  he  obtained  his  news,  his  subscriptions, 
or  his  money  to  pay  his  office  staff  does  not  appear. 

Calexico. — On  the  border  line  of  the  new  county,  and  its  sister  town 
of  Mexicali,  is  one  of  the  most  prominent  towns  in  the  Valley,  being 
tributary  to  a  vast  extent  of  territory  in  Mexico  that  is  very  fertile, 
having  large  ranches  producing  wheat,  barley,  cotton  and  similar  crops. 
It  owns  its  water  and  sewer  system,  has  well-lighted  streets,  miles  of 
concrete  sidewalks,  avenues  of  fine  shade  trees,  splendid  schools  and 
churches.  The  California  Development  Company  has  its  offices  here. 
The  United  States  Custom  House  is  here,  and  there  is  a  large  industrial 
district  for  handling  cotton,  gins,  oil  mills,  compress,  etc.,  warehouses 
and  many  fine  blocks  of  buildings. 

Heber  is  four  miles  from  this  point  northward  and  has  become  one 
of  the  largest  shipping  stations  for  stock,  hay  and  grain  in  the  Valley. 
It  also  ships  many  carloads  of  cantaloupes  in  the  season  and  it  has  a 
good  hotel. 

Brawley,  nine  miles  north  of  Imperial,  is  the  great  cantaloupe  cen- 
ter of  the  Valley,  some  3000  carloads  of  this  luscious  fruit  being  shipped 
from  here  annually.  And  it  is  claimed  that  this  place  produces  more 
vegetable  products  than  all  the  other  towns  in  the  Valley  combined. 
It  is  a  very  progressive  town,  owns  its  own  water  and  sewer  systems, 
has  a  fine  public  park,  several  social  clubs  and  churches,  cotton  gins 
and  a  creamery.  Among  the  leading  vegetable  products  are  dates,  apri- 
cots, grapes,  peppers,  beans  and  peas.  It  has  the  largest  cantaloupe  pack- 
ing shed  in  the  west. 


22  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

Holtville,  also  an  incorporated  city,  is  rated  as  the  gem  of  the  East 
Side  section.  It  is  the  only  one  in  the  Valley  having  artesian  water. 
Much  public  spirit  has  been  shown  here,  and  there  are  many  public  im- 
provements with  others  in  prospect.  The  adjacent  territory  is  mainly 
devoted  to  alfalfa,  cotton,  grain  and  stock  raising,  although  an  exten- 
sive acreage  is  now  being  planted  with  the  cantaloupe  melon.  It  is 
claimed  that  this  is  the  only  place  in  the  United  States  where  one  can 
eat  breakfast  below  sea  level  and  sleep  above  it.  The  Holton  Power 
Company  here  supplies  the  entire  Valley  with  electricity,  and  the  great 
plant  is  operated  by  water  power. 

In  addition  to  the  towns  briefly  mentioned  there  are  Calipatria,  Silsby, 
Dixieland  and  many  other  smaller  settlements  all  through  the  Valley 
which  are  ready  to  blossom  into  business  activity.  Vacant  houses  are 
unknown  in  any  of  these  towns  today. 

Such  is  the  record  of  the  men  who  came  into  this  Valley  knowing  it 
was  a  forbidden  desert  without  a  redeeming  feature.  It  must  be  appar- 
ent to  anyone  that  it  took  a  vast  amount  of  courage  and  persistence  to 
start  the  development  of  a  ranch  of  any  kind  here  in  those  old  pioneer 
days.  They  had  to  brave  the  storms  miles  from  any  supplies,  and  away 
from  all  the  comforts  and  advantages  of  civilization.  Even  ten  years  ago 
there  was  only  a  single  telephone  line  to  Flowing  Wells,  forty  miles  to 
the  railway.  Now  there  are  all  manner  of  modern  facilities  all  through 
the  Valley,  and  the  newcomers  may  go  and  come  at  will.  But  it  always 
takes  men  of  this  class,  full  of  courage  and  determination,  to  blaze  the 
way  of  civilization  and  progress  in  any  new  country  like  that.  Those 
who  are  made  of  milder  stuff  are  always  ready  to  follow  where  they 
see  that  success  has  been  already  achieved,  and  in  this  they  are  quite 
willing  to  share  liberally. 

THE  CLIMATE 

This  is  a  subject  susceptible  of  a  great  variety  of  definitions.  It  covers 
many  aspects  and  features  not  readily  embraced  in  few  words.  Of  these, 
temperature  is  only  one,  though  most  important  perhaps  in  the  average 
range  throughout  the  year.  We  often  read  of  this  or  that  place  being  en- 
dowed by  Nature  with  the  "finest  climate  in  the  world."  But  she  rarely 
distributes  her  favor  so  lavishly  in  one  spot.  And  such  an  expression 
really  means  very  little  in  the  abstract  anyway.  It  gives  the  average  per- 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


23 


son  only  a  partial  notion  of  the  general  meteorological  conditions  that 
prevail.  There  are  so  many  elements  that  enter  into  the  final  estimate  of 
climate  in  any  particular  place  that  personal  investigation  extending 
over  a  considerable  period  of  time  seems  almost  imperative.  Then,  in 
addition  to  all  this,  there  is  also  a  wide  diversity  of  opinion  in  regard  to 
just  what  constitutes  the  best  climate.  Perhaps  no  two  persons  would 
precisely  agree  upon  this  fundamental  point.  And  this  is  as  it  should  be, 
or  the  various  latitudes  of  the  earth  would  not  all  be  inhabited.  People 
become  adapted  to  the  climatic  conditions  which  prevail  in  the  region 
where  they  live. 

The  term  "equable"  is  usually  applied  in  speaking  of  the  most  desir- 
able climate  enjoyed  by  human  beings.  Old  geographic  writers  designat- 
ed it  in  this  rather  indefinite  manner  when  they  meant  neither  too  hot 
nor  too  cold,  too  dry  nor  too  wet,  but  just  pleasant  most  of  the  time, 
without  any  extremes  of  temperature  or  any  violent  atmospheric  dis- 
turbances. And  this  is  perhaps  an  ideal  condition  of  the  air  that  most 
nearly  agrees  with  the  average  human  mind.  And  yet  some  people  are 
not  entirely  satisfied  with  such  uniform  conditions.  They  find  it  monoto- 
nous and  prefer  changes,  though  very  apt  to  rebel  sharply  when  these 
changes  become  very  sudden  and  drastic. 

Climate  therefore  depends  primarily  upon  temperature,  of  course,  but 
also  upon  the  relative  humidity  of  the  atmosphere.  And  all  these  things 
depend  upon  the  location  of  the  place  with  reference  to  the  equator,  not 
only,  but  the  altitude  above  the  sea.  The  terms  climate  and  weather, 
however,  should  not  be  used  indiscriminately,  as  there  is  a  distinction 
between  them.  Climate  is  a  condition  of  a  place  with  relation  to  certain 
meteorological  phenomena,  and  the  term  weather  has  reference  to  these 
phenomena  themselves. 

As  to  the  climate  of  this  Imperial  Valley,  nine  months  of  the  year 
are  considered  perfect,  and  without  any  rival.  It  is  extremely  rare  that 
the  region  is  visited  by  frost.  There  are  no  violent  storms,  and  rains  are 
seldom  known.  But  the  remaining  three  months  of  every  year  are  me- 
thodically and  admittedly  hot.  But  it  is  at  this  very  time  that  the  green 
things  growing  are  improving  every  shining  hour,  and  making  the  farm- 
er's heart  glad.  And  yet  settlers  soon  become  inured  to  this  heat,  and 
both  men  and  teams  work  without  much  discomfort.  It  is  cool  in  the 
shade  and  the  nights  are  always  cool,  affording  restful  sleep,  while  the 


24 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


sleeper  dreams  of  his  rapidly  ripening  fruit  and  their  early  arrival  in  the 
markets  to  catch  the  top  prices  ahead  of  other  competitors  in  less  fav- 
orable regions. 

LOOKING  BACK 

There  is  so  much  of  interest  in  the  Valley  Year  Book  of  1902  as  indi- 
cated by  Jose  Huddleston  in  her  contribution  to  the  history  of  the  fol- 
lowing year  that  the  writer  takes  the  liberty  of  quoting  copious  excerpts 
therefrom  in  this  chapter.  It  shows  the  contrasting  conditions  between 
then  and  now  in  this  great  Valley  in  a  vivid  manner. 

She  arrived  at  Flowing  Wells  in  October,  1901,  and  she  called  that 
the  "jumping  off  place,''  or  the  end  of  civilization.  Nothing  was  visible 
then  but  glistening  sand,  a  little  sagebrush  and  mesquite.  Her  little  party 
spent  the  night  under  a  tent  in  the  desert  and  without  sleep.  Next  morn- 
ing at  six  she  took  the  stage  for  Imperial,  33  miles  away.  They  finally 
reached  there  at  four  in  the  afternoon  and  again  stopped  under  a  tent, 
kept  this  time  by  a  Chinaman  in  payment  of  the  rent,  wood  and  water 
being  furnished  him  by  the  owners.  The  land  company  had  a  very  small 
office  in  the  town,  and  Le  Roy  Holt,  now  a  banker,  kept  a  small  grocery 
store.  The  Imperial  Valley  Press  was  issued  from  this  building  every 
week  over  a  miniature  printing  office  where  the  printer's  family  lived. 
There  was  also  a  Christian  Church  building  through  the  influence  of 
W.  F.  Holt,  and  a  school  building,  and  these  few  small  structures  com- 
prised the  town  of  Imperial  at  that  time.  A  little  patch  of  sorghum  was 
the  only  green  spot  in  sight.  This  had  been  planted  as  an  experiment  by 
Mr.  Patton  and  was  the  only  touch  of  color  in  that  great  sand  waste. 
Mr.  Huddleston  opened  the  first  barber  shop  in  October,  1901.  Then  for 
the  first  time,  it  seems,  the  men  of  that  Valley  began  to  cut  their  hair 
and  clip  their  beards.  Soon  after  this  two  more  tents  were  struck,  and 
in  one  of  these  Mr.  Huddleston  baked  bread  with  a  gasoline  stove,  three 
loaves  at  a  time,  and  21  loaves  a  day.  As  room  in  this  oven  could  be 
found  he  slipped  in  a  pie.  Of  course,  all  were  delighted  with  this  home- 
made innovation.  Then  the  writer  relates  in  the  following  December  the 
Valley  was  treated  to  a  violent  storm  of  snow,  rain  and  sleet. 

When  the  first  cow  was  brought  in,  tied  behind  a  wagon,  a  great  sen- 
sation was  created.  Mrs.  Huddleston  was  keeping  a  restaurant,  and  the 
owner  of  the  cow  stopped  there  and  told  her  she  could  have  some 


M     | 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY  25 

fresh  milk  if  she  would  milk  the  cow.  It  was  the  first  milk  she  had  seen 
in  seven  months.  The  main  canal  was  then  under  construction  and  she 
received  water  through  a  small  branch  ditch  when  it  was  not  choked 
with  sand.  In  August,  1902,  the  ice  factory  began  operations  there.  But 
in  the  May  previous  she  had  gone  to  Calexico,  which  was  separated 
from  Mexico  by  a  small  ditch  ten  feet  wide.  A  hotel,  blacksmith  shop, 
custom  house  office  and  half  a  dozen  tents  comprised  this  first  town  in 
the  Valley  at  that  time.  Then  this  picturesque  writer  describes  the  beau- 
ties of  the  mirages  seen  in  that  region  in  this  way,  and  says  that  those 
who  have  never  lived  where  these  wonderful  aerial  phenomena  occur 
can  have  no  conception  of  such  beauties.  "On  looking  south  we  have 
often  beheld  the  mountains  turned  upside  down,  one  above  the  other. 
At  other  times  a  full-rigged  battleship  was  seen  so  plainly  that  even  the 
port  holes  were  visible.  Again  we  have  seen  the  ocean  and  watched  the 
breakers  sweeping  over  the  sands,  and  could  see  the  spray  from  the 
rolling  waves.  Toward  the  east  there  was  an  immense  castle  with  beauti- 
ful turrets  with  iron  bars  at  the  windows.  A  little  farther  north  there 
appeared  to  be  a  hole  through  the  mountain  which  seemed  about  four 
feet  in  diameter,  showing  beautiful  green  on  the  other  side.  Another 
time,  toward  the  east,  an  immense  bird  seemed  to  be  feeding,  a  crane 
perhaps,  with  a  bill  about  a  foot  and  a  half  long." 

"And  so,  where  the  winds  have  met,  and  the  seas  were  swept  aside, 
We  have  builded  our  homes,  we  have  tilled  the  soil,  and  we  view  it 
all  with  pride." 

INDIAN  OCCUPATION 

It  must  be  assumed  that  long  before  Columbus  turned  his  Spanish  prow 
toward  this  western  hemisphere  it  was  inhabited  by  a  swarthy  race  of 
human  beings  whom  we  have  been  pleased  to  call  Indians.  Whence  they 
came  or  how  they  originated  are  questions  which  have  never  yet  been 
satisfactorily  answered,  nor  ever  will  be.  Ethnologists  and  other  scien- 
tific investigators  are  still  wrestling  with  these  fundamental  questions. 
And  they  arrive  at  different  conclusions,  just  as  they  do  as  to  the  pre- 
cise origin  of  the  Negro  race.  But  when  this  new  western  continent  was 
discovered  the  Indian  was  found  in  possession  of  the  lands  under  widely 
varying  conditions  and  aspects,  depending  upon  their  location  and  mode 
of  life.  These  people  we  have  been  content  to  designate  as  the  native 


26  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

American  race  or  aborigines.  The  Jesuit  missionaries  in  this  California 
peninsula  divided  them  into  three  classes  or  tribes,  the  Pericues,  Mon- 
quis  and  Cachimies.  These  tribes  were  subdivided  into  various  branches, 
and  again  into  families  and  rancherias.  They  were  all  tall,  erect,  robust 
and  well  formed,  as  a  result  of  their  nomadic  life  in  the  open  air,  to- 
gether with  their  wildwood  habits.  Though  not  disagreeable  in  features, 
they  seemed  to  delight  in  disfiguring  themselves  in  various  ways.  Their 
complexions  were  somewhat  darker  than  those  found  in  Mexico,  and 
became  almost  black  as  they  grew  older.  Their  hair  was  black  and 
straight,  but  they  had  no  beards.  Their  teeth  were  large,  regular,  and 
very  white.  This  native  population  has  been  estimated  as  high  as  fifty 
thousand.  But  it  is  thought  it  did  not  really  exceed  half  that  number.  A 
census  of  fifteen  missions  taken  in  1767  found  only  about  12,000.  In  fact 
it  is  said  that  one  might  travel  for  days  and  not  see  a  single  Indian.  No 
records  have  been  found  to  show  that  they  were  in  any  way  connected 
with  any  other  tribe  or  people.  As  already  remarked,  no  effort  seems  to 
have  been  made  to  trace  their  origin.  That  they  were  inhabiting  such  a 
desolate  country  of  their  own  volition  is  hardly  possible,  and  it  has 
therefore  been  surmised  that  they  were  driven  out  of  some  more  fav- 
ored region  by  more  powerful  tribes,  and  then  sought  refuge  among  the 
vast  wastes  of  this  peninsula.  They  seemed  devoid  of  all  knowledge  or 
even  native  intuition.  They  thought  California  was  the  entire  world, 
visited  no  other  people  and  had  no  visitors,  cared  mainly  for  filling 
their  stomachs  and  toasting  their  shins  in  idleness.  Even  the  native 
hunting  instinct,  so  common  with  other  Indians,  seemed  to  be  dormant 
in  their  minds  if  they  had  any  minds  at  all.  They  wandered  from  place 
to  place  aimlessly,  sleeping  on  the  bare  ground,  rarely  spending  over 
one  night  in  any  one  place.  They  rambled  about  in  search  of  water,  fruit 
and  food  of  some  kind.  Only  when  ill  did  any  of  them  get  any  shelter- 
ing hut.  After  their  lessons  at  the  mission  they  would  squat  on  the 
floor.  The  men  were  entirely  naked,  and  the  women  often  wore  belts 
around  their  waists  if  they  wore  anything.  When  given  clothing  they 
would  discard  it  as  soon  as  they  got  outside.  They  made  sandals  of 
deer  skin,  and  sometimes  wore  strings  of  shells  and  berries  in  their  hair 
and  around  their  necks.  They  were  armed  with  bows  and  arrows  and 
had  a  few  rude  stone  implements  for  digging  roots.  Baskets  and  cradles 
were  made  of  tortoise  shells.  The  men   carried  burdens  upon  their 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY  27 

heads,  the  women  upon  their  backs.  They  knew  nothing  about  cooking 
and  each  cooked  for  himself.  They  ate  anything  and  everything — roots, 
fruits,  buds,  seeds,  and  flesh  of  all  kinds  of  animals,  deer,  wild-cats, 
mice,  rats,  bats,  lizards,  locusts,  caterpillars  and  even  snakes,  old  bones 
and  carrion,  so  disgusting  and  filthy  were  their  habits.  And  yet  we  are 
told  they  were  healthy  and  rarely  got  sick,  but  remained  strong  and  vig- 
orous. They  could  endure  hunger  longer  than  the  white  man,  but  they 
were  also  gluttons  and  could  gorge  fuller.  Seventeen  watermelons  and 
six  pounds  of  unrefined  sugar  at  a  sitting  was  reported.  But  they  made 
no  intoxicating  liquors,  though  on  festive  occasions  they  became  drunk 
smoking  wild  tobacco.  They  practiced  a  crude  form  of  polygamy,  and 
their  social  customs  were  full  of  interest  to  the  white  man,  though  dis- 
gusting in  the  extreme.  They  had  no  form  of  religion  or  government  of 
any  kind  until  the  missions  were  established.  They  had  neither  gods  nor 
idols,  nor  any  conception  or  dread  of  any  hell  before  the  missions  were 
founded.  When  asked  who  made  the  sun,  moon,  stars,  etc.,  they  would 
answer  "aipekeriri,"  who  knows  that?  There  seemed  to  be  no  language 
of  their  own  and  very  few  words  for  anything  they  could  not  see,  hear, 
touch,  taste  or  smell,  nor  any  words  to  express  abstract  ideas.  In  fact 
their  native  vocabulary  was  of  the  most  meager  description.  Their 
language  and  culture  went  together. 

In  short  here  was  a  nomadic  race  which  seemed  to  be  regarded  as  the 
lowest  scale  of  humanity.  And  if  the  chief  end  of  life  is  to  eat,  drink, 
sleep  and  pass  a  painless  existence,  the  Jesuit  father  was  right  in  saying 
they  were  happy.  They  perhaps  slept  more  soundly  on  the  ground,  un- 
der the  open  sky,  than  many  European  potentates  under  their  gorgeous 
canopies  on  their  downy  beds.  There  were  no  troubles  of  any  kind,  nor 
any  envy,  jealousy,  slander,  or  evils  common  to  civilization.  "Where 
ignorance  is  bliss  it's  folly  to  be  wise"  is  the  much  abused  adage  that 
seems  to  apply  here. 

Perhaps  the  general  characteristics  of  this  native  race  in  Lower  Cal- 
ifornia have  been  referred  to  in  this  general  article  more  in  detail  than 
was  absolutely  necessary,  although  the  briefest  possible  summary  only 
has  been  presented  from  the  earliest  writers  on  the  subject. 

Here  in  this  Imperial  Valley  the  tribal  name  of  these  nomadic  deni- 
zens of  the  forest  was  Cucupah,  closely  related  to  the  Yumas,  though 
more  industrious  than  the  latter.  They  apparently  lived  then,  as  now, 


28  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

in  the  mountains  of  Mexico  and  only  came  to  the  desert  valley  at  time 
of  tribal  wars.  Here  they  left  many  large  water  and  food  jars,  in  prep- 
aration for  a  siege.  All  of  them  lived  in  this  happy-go-lucky  way  among 
their  savage  instincts. 

Then,  after  succeeding  generations,  when  Columbus  had  brought  the 
white  men  over,  it  was  rumored  that  this  whole  country  was  to  be  domi- 
nated by  the  white  race,  that  would  eventually  crowd  the  Indians  into 
the  sea.  Thus  when  the  boats  of  these  whites  were  reported  in  the  Col- 
orado River,  upon  which  the  Indians  had  depended  for  food  and  drink, 
a  general  massacre  was  planned  by  this  whole  tribe.  This  was  about  the 
year  1800,  when  Lieutenant  Hardy  of  the  British  Navy  led  two  expe- 
ditions well  into  this  great  western  part  of  the  continent  in  search  of 
some  river  up  which  he  could  sail.  He  ascended  the  Gulf  of  California, 
making  his  way  past  many  islands,  shallows  and  sandbars  with  great 
difficulty  and  danger,  and  finally  reached  the  mouth  of  the  sluggish 
Colorado  River.  He  pushed  on  to  a  small  lake  in  which  he  anchored, 
and  then  went  further  for  investigation.  But  as  far  as  he  could  see  there 
was  nothing  but  a  vast  desert  of  sand,  bare  and  desolate.  Further 
progress  being  impossible  here,  he  turned  back  and  reported  to  his  su- 
perior officers  that  the  Colorado  River  was  not  navigable. 

It  should  be  added  here  that  there  has  been  some  question  whether  or 
not  this  English  officer  was  ever  really  in  this  river  at  all,  although  he 
called  it  the  Colorado  in  his  report  and  maps  at  the  time.  For  a  hun- 
dred years  geographers  thought  he  was  mistaken,  and  yet  he  may  have 
been  right,  as  the  main  course  of  this  erratic  stream  has  changed  many 
times  since  then.  But  upon  this  question  however  depends  the  fact 
whether  or  not  he  was  the  first  Englishman  to  look  upon  this  vast  Col- 
orado desert.  And  the  point  is  not  a  vital  one  after  all ;  in  any  event  the 
great  river  was  well  worthy  of  his  best  efforts. 

THE  COLORADO 

This  is  one  of  the  longest  rivers  of  the  world  when  its  tributaries  are 
included.  It  begins  at  the  junction  of  the  Grand  and  Green  rivers  in  the 
southeastern  part  of  Utah,  the  whole  river  being  really  a  continuation 
of  the  Colorado  in  its  upper  part.  Its  mileage  is  about  2000,  and  the 
drainage  is  about  800  miles  long,  varying  in  width  from  300  to  500 
miles,  with  a  total  of  something  like  300,000  square  miles.   It  flows 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY  29 

through  Wyoming,  Colorado,  Utah,  Arizona,  California,  Nevada,  New 
Mexico,  and  Mexico.  The  lower  basin  of  the  river  is  only  slightly  below 
sea  level,  with  some  mountain  ranges  rising  2000  and  6000  feet  in  the 
air.  The  upper  part  of  this  basin  is  from  4000  to  8000  feet  above  sea 
level,  and  it  is  bordered  on  the  east,  west  and  north  by  snow-clad  moun- 
tains. Through  this  plateau  there  are  deep  gorges,  transverse  valleys 
and  caafions  which  are  dry  most  of  the  year.  Among  these  and  other 
tributaries  in  this  district  flow  the  waters  that  go  to  make  up  this  slug- 
gish and  erratic  river,  which  for  untold  centuries  has  carried  down  the 
silt  and  atoms  of  earth  that  were  destined  to  transform  this  great  Val- 
ley and  make  it  blossom  like  the  rose. 

Sluggish  streams  with  shallow  settling  basins,  are  required  to  pro- 
duce this  cargo  of  maturing  debris.  And  here  the  story  of  the  forma- 
tion of  the  Colorado,  now  reclaimed,  and  the  great  Imperial  Valley,  its 
daughter,  begins. 

In  1853  government  experts  made  exhaustive  investigations  of  this 
region.  After  describing  the  bordering  mountains,  their  report  turns 
to  the  desert  section,  and  says  that  it  belongs  to  the  type  which  physio- 
graphers describe  as  constructional,  an  area  which  has  been  depressed 
as  a  result  of  a  crustal  movement,  as  contrasted  with  valleys  due  to  ero- 
sion. Its  rock-floor  or  bottom  is  below  tide  even  in  those  parts  north  of 
the  Gulf  where  the  actual  surface  is  well  below  the  sea.  This  indicates 
a  subsidence  of  the  earth's  crust.  A  marked  fault-line  in  the  mountains 
show  that  the  Valley  simply  dropped  away  at  some  time  or  other, 
either  slowly  or  suddenly.  There  are  therefore  topographic  character- 
istics of  a  faulted-block  tilted  toward  the  northeast  and  plunging  into 
the  desert  toward  the  southeast.  As  the  entire  basin  is  occupied  by  lake 
silts  and  alluvium  of  most  recent  origin,  it  is  evident  that  these  fault- 
movements  were  of  a  very  late  period.  Everything  strongly  points 
therefore  to  the  fact  that  this  desert  valley  is  associated  with  structures 
in  which  faults  are  prominent.  When  this  valley-floor  subsided  there 
must  have  been  a  great  inrush  of  the  Gulf  waters.  Scientists  agree  that 
at  a  comparatively  recent  geological  period  this  section  was  covered  by 
the  waters  of  the  Pacific.  It  was  here  that  the  Colorado  found  its  way  in 
past  ages  and  tumbled  its  load  of  silt  year  after  year,  forming  at  last 
a  delta  near  its  mouth  which  spread  in  time  and  buried  the  original  floor 
of  the  Gulf  under  hundreds  of  feet  of  mud  and  alluvium,  and  finally 


3o  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

cut  the  Gulf  in  two  by  building  up  the  delta  dam  which  separates  this 
Gulf  depression  from  that  known  as  the  Salton  Sink. 

The  conclusions  arrived  at  therefore  by  these  government  geologists 
are  that  this  Colorado  desert  was  not  a  desert  at  all  at  first,  and  only 
became  so  when  the  floor  of  the  basin  settled  probably  iooo  feet,  be- 
came inundated  by  the  gulf,  received  the  salt-laden  waters  of  the  Colo- 
rado and  Gila  rivers,  with  their  numerous  tributaries,  thus  forming  a 
delta  and  lake  was  into  which  the  water  poured  for  centuries  until  the 
surface  of  the  lake  was  about  forty  feet  above  the  sea  and  extended 
over  an  area  of  more  than  2100  square  miles,  and  finally  receded  grad- 
ually year  after  year,  shrinking  away  entirely,  leaving  a  great  solid  bed 
of  soil,  rich  alluvium  and  detritus  from  250  to  1000  feet  deep. 

GOVERNMENT  ANTAGONISTIC 

It  is  strange  to  record  here  that  apparently  from  the  very  inception  of 
this  great  reclamation  enterprise  the  attitude  of  the  national  govern- 
ment seemed  antagonistic.  At  times  the  work  was  much  retarded  from 
this  cause,  the  operators  becoming  discouraged,  and  in  some  cases  fell 
into  discredit  in  the  community.  This  opposition  came,  not  only  from 
the  reclamation  service  department,  but  also  from  other  branches  of 
the  government  from  which  every  assistance  had  been  expected.  This 
was  mainly  attributed  to  the  dilatory  tactics  of  the  officials  in  sending 
inexperienced  men  to  undertake  work  of  such  large  importance.  For 
instance,  the  soil  survey  made  by  the  Agricultural  Department  in  1901 
and  1902  resulted  in  such  an  unfavorable  report  that  for  a  time  opera- 
tions were  entirely  stopped,  and  the  faith  in  the  enterprise  became  much 
impaired.  The  substance  of  this  report  was  that  the  alkalies  would 
rise  to  the  surface  and  destroy  all  plant  life.  But  the  wisdom  of  that 
cruel  prediction  has  been  amply  refuted  from  that  time  to  this  by  the 
marvelous  crops  produced  in  the  very  parts  of  the  Valley  where  the 
trouble  was  expected.  And  yet  at  the  time  the  blow  was  a  sad  one  for 
the  projectors.  There  was  also  trouble  from  the  Government  Land  De- 
partment. And  this  made  it  necessary  that  a  resurvey  of  the  lands  in 
the  Valley  should  be  made.  This  was  authorized  by  Congress  in  1902, 
and  it  took  seven  years  to  complete  it.  But  even  this  snarl  of  red  tape 
was  finally  untangled. 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY  3I 

But  meanwhile  the  projectors  were  confronted  with  an  empty  treas- 
ury once  more.  Then  resource  was  had  to  the  Southern  Pacific  Railway 
Company,  which  was  of  course  deeply  interested  in  the  development  of 
the  Valley.  At  the  instigation  of  Mr.  E.  H.  Harriman,  after  careful 
investigation,  a  loan  of  $200,000  was  secured  on  certain  conditions. 
But  then  came  a  break  in  the  Colorado  River  in  June,  1905,  which  had 
been  preceded  by  some  water-sewage  the  past  two  years,  due  to  some 
defects  in  the  construction  system.  But  again  all  these  troubles,  and 
many  others  which  followed  from  periodical  floods  unprecedented, 
were  successfully  met  and  surmounted,  as  all  others  had  been. 

On  the  far  eastern  side  of  Imperial  County  are  17,000  acres  of  the 
finest  land  in  the  world  which  are  now  watered  by  the  diversion  of  the 
Colorado  River  under  the  Laguna  Dam  system.  This  great  dam  is 
nearly  a  mile  long  by  240  feet  wide,  and  it  raises  the  water  in  the  river 
about  ten  feet.  It  stands  as  a  monument  to  the  engineering  skill  of  the 
government.  It  will  eventually  reclaim  about  130,000  acres  of  land. 
And  to  this  will  be  added  some  100,000  acres  from  the  Imperial  Mesa 
land. 

This  new  county,  therefore,  seems  like  an  empire  in  itself,  being  84 
miles  long  from  east  to  west  and  54  miles  from  north  to  south,  covering 
about  2,600,000  acres.  About  one-sixth  of  this,  now  known  as  Imperial 
Valley,  lies  in  the  middle  of  the  county,  extending  toward  the  Mexican 
line  toward  the  north  some  40  miles.  The  Saltan  Sea  is  in  the  western 
part  of  the  county,  the  probable  remains  of  the  California  Gulf. 

THE  WOMEN 

And  this  leads  to  some  special  mention  of  the  women  in  this  Valley. 
Too  much  honor  cannot  be  awarded  them  for  their  most  effective 
services  here.  A  volume  might  well  be  devoted  to  these  women  for  their 
share  in  the  work  of  development  in  this  new  country.  They  endured 
many  of  the  hardships  described  in  this  work  of  achievement  and  strug- 
gle. They  followed  their  husbands  and  sweethearts  into  this  barren 
country  even  before  the  success  of  the  reclamation  operations  was 
assured.  They  lent  not  only  encouragement  but  actual  and  most  effective 
assistance  to  the  men  from  the  very  first.  And  it  has  been  well  said  that 
but  for  these  devoted  women  the  reclamation  of  this  Colorado  Desert 
might  have  been  possible,  but  it  would  not  have  been  a  fact. 


32 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


Among  these  early  pioneers  was  Mrs.  Le  Roy  Holt.  Mr.  Holt,  who 
later  became  president  of  several  banks  in  the  Valley,  came  to  Imperial 
early  in  1901.  In  June  of  that  year  Mrs.  Holt  followed  her  husband. 
She  arrived  at  Flowing  Wells  Station  on  the  Southern  Pacific,  expecting 
to  settle  in  the  Valley.  Being  the  only  woman  in  the  stage-coach,  she  was 
accorded  a  seat  beside  the  driver,  some  ten  feet  in  the  air.  Reaching  the 
Salton  Sea,  they  found  barrels  of  water  left  by  the  freighters,  there 
being  not  a  drop  on  the  entire  road  between  the  station  and  Imperial. 
A  lone  mesquite  tree,  called  the  "15-mile  tree,"  was  there  used  as  a 
mail-peg  upon  which  to  hang  the  mail  sack  for  the  Bothwell  Camp  on 
the  east  side.  And  yet  there  is  no  record  showing  that  this  mail  was  ever 
robbed.  It  was  an  all-day  trip,  the  horses  were  well-nigh  exhausted,  and 
the  destination  was  not  reached  until  five  o'clock.  The  only  men  in 
sight  on  their  arrival  were  Mr.  Holt  and  Mr.  Reid,  the  editor  of  the 
Imperial  Press,  which  was  the  first  newspaper  issued  in  the  Valley.  Of 
course  the  newspaper  man  is  always  among  the  pioneers  in  every  bold 
undertaking  or  project  of  this  nature.  He  never  gets  left.  And  this  was 
the  inspiration  which  animated  his  local  paper.  Water  was  king  and 
here  was  its  kingdom.  Three  months  later  Mrs.  Holt  paid  her  second 
visit  to  Imperial.  This  time  she  came  to  stay  and  has  been  there  ever 
since.  The  only  hotel  was  of  canvas,  and  there  was  a  little  church,  a 
printing-office  building,  one  store-room,  and  a  little  10x12  office  for 
the  Imperial  Land  Company.  A  Chinaman  at  the  hotel  was  the  manager, 
and  there  was  no  landlord.  The  only  other  woman  in  sight  had  just 
arrived  by  the  stage.  She  took  up  some  land  and  moved  out  at  once. 
Thus  the  only  women  in  Imperial  and  for  miles  around  were  the  wife 
of  the  editor,  Mrs.  Frost  and  Mrs.  Holt.  There  was  then  no  wire  com- 
munication with  the  outside  world,  and  the  mail  was  often  many  hours 
behind  time.  The  people  occasionally  became  hungry  and  found  diffi- 
culty in  keeping  warm,  as  the  stovepipe  would  blow  away,  when  a 
neighbor  would  give  chase  on  the  Holt  pony,  fearing  it  might  land  in 
the  canal  and  be  lost  forever.  Mrs.  Holt  recalls  one  Sunday  when  they 
got  no  meal  at  all  all  day,  the  dust  being  so  thick  they  could  not  eat  in 
the  tent-house.  The  children  were  kept  in  bed  in  case  the  tent  was 
blown  over. 

On  being  asked  why  they  stayed  in  a  place  like  that  she  answered 
with  much  enthusiasm,  "Because  we  loved  the  days  that  were  not  windy 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY  33 

and  dusty,  and  we  loved  also  the  bigness  of  our  surroundings.  We  never 
felt  lonely  nor  homesick  here;  even  the  stars  seemed  nearer  to  us." 

The  Rev.  John  C.  Hay  was  the  pastor  of  the  little  Imperial  church, 
which  had  only  six  persons  in  its  congregation  at  this  first  service  and 
three  scholars  in  the  Sunday  school.  In  the  evening  the  hotel  Chinaman 
took  part  and  sang  "Onwald,  Chlistian  Sojers"  with  great  effect.  Ruth 
Reid,  the  editor's  baby,  was  the  first  child  born  there,  and  Jesse  and 
Tom  Holt  were  the  first  children  who  lived  in  Imperial.  Many  other 
eloquent  hardships  endured  by  this  noble  pioneer  woman  might  be 
cited  if  space  permitted. 

Editor  Reid,  who  guided  the  destinies  of  the  Press  from  May  until 
October,  1901,  gave  a  graphic  picture  of  the  Imperial  city  in  the  pre- 
ceding March  before  the  little  printing  shop  was  built,  during  the  prog- 
ress of  which  the  paper  was  being  put  in  type  and  made  ready  for  the 
press.  A  roster  of  the  place  at  that  time  showed  a  population  of  one 
dozen. 

In  those  days  the  people  depended  entirely  upon  the  "freighter," 
with  his  long  string  of  mules,  for  everything  which  had  to  be  brought  in 
from  the  outside.  And  this  freighter  was  a  picturesque  character,  afford- 
ing much  amusement  to  the  residents.  But  of  course  the  method  of 
transportation  was  excessively  slow,  costly  and  unsatisfactory.  And  yet 
the  people  were  glad  to  get  even  this  service.  They  were  not  then  in  any 
position  to  contrast  it  with  better  things.  And  the  fact  is,  after  all,  that 
we  enjoy  almost  everything  in  this  world  by  contrast. 

The  irrigation  water  only  began  to  enter  the  Valley  in  the  summer 
of  1 90 1,  and  then  by  a  very  small  stream.  And  yet  the  editor  of  the 
Press,  which  had  just  begun  its  career,  became  so  enthusiastic  over  the 
event  that  he  used  all  the  big  type  in  stock,  and  then  concluded  with 
this  paragraph :  "Imagine  how  pleasant  to  the  eye  the  green  fields,  sur- 
rounded by  a  barren  waste,  will'be  to  the  eye."  But  everybody  was  ready 
to  overlook  his  faulty  construction  in  view  of  his  unbounded  enthusi- 
asm. Several  crops  of  sorghum,  maze,  wheat  and  barley  were  raised 
that  very  summer,  however,  in  the  region  of  Cameron  and  Blue  Lake. 
Experiments  were  also  made  with  cantaloupes  and  Egyptian  cotton, 
with  such  surprising  results  that  the  government  began  to  doubt  the 
reports  of  their  own  officials.  It  was  apparent  that  the  only  requisite 
was  water. 


34 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


The  Imperial  Postoffice  was  opened  in  May,  and  the  first  public 
school,  under  Prof.  Carr,  from  Nevada  City,  was  started.  The  next  day 
after  this  school  opened  there  were  fifty  pupils  enrolled.  Some  of  these 
walked  five  miles  every  day  to  reach  it. 

The  following  spring  the  Southern  California  Editorial  Association 
took  a  trip  through  this  district  under  the  auspices  of  the  Imperial  Land 
Company.  This  gave  a  new  impetus  to  the  whole  section  which  never 
died  out.  Landholders  were  then  assured  that  the  irrigation  system 
under  construction  would  be  completed  early  in  1902.  Thus  extensive 
preparations  of  the  soil  were  made  for  tillage. 

But  now  came  the  adverse  report  from  the  government  soil  expert, 
which,  though  technical  and  almost  unintelligible  to  the  average 
reader,  claimed  in  effect  that  because  of  the  large  percentage  of  alkali 
much  of  the  land  would  prove  worthless  for  most  crops,  except  on  some 
of  the  bottom  lands  below  Yuma,  where  the  conditions  were  different. 

This,  as  before  remarked  in  an  earlier  chapter,  was  a  great  setback 
for  the  region.  Even  some  of  the  newspapers  made  "stories"  about  the 
hopeless  doom  of  the  much-lauded  irrigation  project  in  the  Valley.  But 
a  few  of  the  more  intelligent  and  conservative  editors  took  a  more 
thoughtful  view.  One  of  these  called  the  report  an  "alka-lie"  document. 
One  sententious  farmer,  when  asked  about  the  "white  spots"  upon  his 
productive  acres,  said :  "Yes,  it  looks  like  alkali  and  tastes  like  alkali, 
in  fact  it  is  alkali.  But  on  land  that  has  raised  a  large  family,  lifted  a  big 
mortgage  and  paid  the  taxes,  it  is  only  frosting  on  the  cake  of  plenty." 
He  denounced  the  alkali  expert,  and  said  he  would  be  in  better  employ 
prying  pumpkins  off  these  "alkali"  plots. 

Thus  the  faith  of  these  settlers  never  flagged;  they  kept  on  planting 
and  raising  marvelous  crops  from  their  irrigated  acres  where  they  had 
them.  Commercial  prosperity  had  come  to  stay,  only  awaiting  more 
water.  And  it  was  this  personal  confidence  in  ultimate  success  that 
animated  every  landholder  in  the  Valley,  and  this  enthusiasm  spilled 
over  to  the  surrounding  country.  The  construction  of  additional  canals 
went  bravely  on,  and  the  people  began  to  pour  into  the  Valley  as  never 
before.  It  was,  therefore,  apparent  that  in  the  summer  of  1902  this 
Imperial  Valley  was  no  longer  a  desert.  Water  was  in  the  ditches,  seeds 
were  in  the  ground,  and  the  entire  region  was  dotted  over  with  homes 
of  industrious  and  happy  people.  The  old  desert  was  now  crossed  by  an 


*£ 


1714334 

HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY  35 

important  railway  line  which  skirted  the  Valley  on  the  northeast  with 
its  rails. 

But  up  to  this  time  little  was  really  known  as  to  the  great  fertility  of 
this  unfailing  land-enriching  silt.  The  Orange  Judd  Farmer,  however, 
predicted  even  then  that  this  land  in  ten  years  would  sell  for  $600  an 
acre.  The  Valley  being  strictly  agricultural  territory,  in  addition  to 
favorable  climatic  conditions,  must  have  the  other  requisites  of  soil 
fertility  and  irrigation.  The  government  ''soil  report"  gave  five  kinds  of 
soil — dune-sand,  sand,  sandy-loam  and  clay.  This  sand,  they  said,  had 
blown  into  the  desert  from  the  old  beaches  on  the  west  and  northwest, 
and  was  caught  upon  obstructions  of  various  kinds,  and  held  there, 
gradually  accumulating  into  sand  drifts,  dunes  and  hummocks,  and 
this,  mixed  with  the  former  soil,  made  a  good  arable  combination.  The 
sandy  loam  was  formed  by  the  coarser  sediment  of  the  Colorado  River 
deposits.  Underlying  this  sediment  is  a  clay  strata  or  subsoil  which 
carries  considerable  organic  matter  with  an  abundance  of  nitrogen  and 
potash.  This  clay  subsoil  is  found  all  through  the  Valley.  And  this,  too, 
is  a  product  of  the  Colorado  River  deposits,  though  of  a  finer  grade, 
being  heavy,  sticky  and  plastic  like  that  of  the  Mississippi  River  delta. 
As  a  matter  of  fact  less  than  one  per  cent  of  all  the  land  in  this  basin 
has  really  proven  worthless  for  high  cultivation.  On  the  contrary,  its 
fertility  exceeds  what  the  most  sanguine  had  hoped  for,  and  it  continues 
to  improve  in  productive  capacity  year  after  year,  bringing  crops  of 
great  luxuriance.  There  is  excellent  drainage  because  of  the  uniform 
slope  of  the  land.  The  fountain  heads  of  the  Colorado  being  in  the 
Rocky  Mountains,  causes  a  stronger  flow  in  summer  from  the  melting 
snow,  and  the  Gila  and  Salt  rivers  are  at  flood  during  January  and 
February,  when  the  Colorado  is  low. 

The  next  important  factor  in  the  productive  value  of  this  or  any 
other  land  is  a  good  market.  This  has  been  found  mainly  at  Los  Angeles, 
200  miles  away,  with  its  population  of  600,000.  Here  for  the  past  fifteen 
years  the  demand  has  exceeded  the  supply.  In  addition  to  this  the  com- 
pletion of  the  Panama  Canal  opens  up  another  branch  of  the  market. 
In  the  transportation  of  these  Valley  products  the  important  railway 
line,  with  its  vast  capital  and  large  facilities,  having  every  interest  in 
the  rapid  development  of  the  region,  is  of  course  an  all-important  factor 
in  itself.  The  cost  of  living,  which  for  the  first  few  years  was  large,  has 


36  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

now  been  greatly  lessened,  the  heavy  freight  rates  having  been  offset 
by  the  cheap  dairy  products,  eggs,  poultry,  and  increased  vegetable 
supplies. 

The  completion  of  the  Southern  Pacific  branch  from  Imperial  to 
Calexico  in  1904  proved  of  great  advantage.  During  part  of  this  time, 
however,  progress  continued  to  be  impeded  by  an  insufficient  supply  of 
water,  although  as  an  association  of  settlers  the  supply  was  freely  given, 
except  the  annual  assessment  on  water-stock.  But  of  course  this  did  not 
help  out  the  inadequate  supply  furnished,  which  seems  to  have  been 
due,  as  usual,  to  the  lack  of  money  on  the  part  of  the  irrigating  con- 
tractors to  cure  certain  defects  in  construction  of  the  Hanlon  head- 
gate,  but  primarily  perhaps  to  the  adverse  report  of  the  government 
department  of  agriculture  as  to  the  quality  of  the  soil.  The  reclamation 
service  of  the  government  had  also  raised  the  question  whether  there 
was  any  right  to  use  this  Colorado  water.  All  these  things  had  an  ad- 
verse influence  upon  capitalists  at  the  time,  who  again  began  to  lose 
confidence  in  the  project.  But  large  destinies  that  are  decreed  for  suc- 
cess are  rarely  turned  aside  by  small  obstacles. 

New  discoveries  were  made  at  the  Chaffey  gate,  and  some  other  im- 
provements effected  which  remedied  the  trouble  for  a  time.  An  opening 
was  finally  made  in  the  mud-banks  of  the  river  four  miles  below  the 
Hanlon  gate  into  Mexican  territory,  and  this,  connected  the  river 
directly  with  the  Alamo  tunnel.  This  was  done  in  October,  1904,  and 
the  clouds  of  trouble  which  had  threatened  so  long  dispersed  at  once. 
This  Colorado  River  flowed  along  the  rim  of  the  Valley,  and  from  25 
to  200  feet  above  it.  And  when  the  irrigation  cut  was  made  it  was 
through  1600  feet  of  mud-flats  such  as  the  river  had  been  forming  for 
centuries.  Thus  to  carry  this  depression  below  sea  level  was  in  defiance 
of  natural  conditions,  and  there  was  some  question  whether  the  stream 
would  take  kindly  to  the  change,  or  perhaps  make  a  new  channel 
for  itself. 

The  opposition  to  the  diversion  of  this  river  water  for  irrigation  pur- 
poses was  bitterly  fought  by  Mr.  A.  H.  Heber  through  influential 
friends  in  Congress  at  that  time.  He  sought  to  convince  that  body  of 
legislators  that  the  Colorado  was  more  useful  for  irrigation  than  for 
navigation  purposes.  But  Congress  would  not  agree  to  that  proposition 
then.  Then  he  went  promptly  to  President  Diaz  of  Mexico  and  entered 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY  37 

into  a  contract  with  him  in  June,  1904,  for  the  development  of  an  irri- 
gation project  on  the  basis  of  the  use  of  one-half  of  the  water  of  the 
canal,  if  so  much  was  needed,  being  used  on  Mexican  soil.  Engineer 
Rockwood  was  placed  in  charge  of  this  new  project.  But  in  February. 
1905,  before  this  could  be  completed,  the  Colorado  got  on  the  rampage 
with  successive  floods,  the  mud-dam  at  intake  No.  3  was  swept  away, 
and  the  dike  was  carried  in  the  channel  down  into  the  Valley.  Then 
various  devices  were  planned  and  resorted  to,  but  the  old  stream  refused 
to  be  conciliated  during  that  whole  summer,  and  there  were  no  avail- 
able funds  in  the  treasury  of  the  development  company.  Meanwhile  the 
great  river,  roaring  with  wrath,  cut  deeper  and  deeper  into  the  soft 
mud-wall  between  it  and  the  men  who  were  making  frantic  efforts  to 
curb  it.  Piles  were  sucked  out,  the  island  became  flooded,  and  the  water 
lapped  the  base  of  the  government  levees  on  the  Arizona  banks  while 
the  engineers  looked  calmly  on.  Finally,  on  August  9  of  that  year,  the 
stream  turned  its  bed  and  began  pouring  into  the  Valley  toward  the  old 
lake,  from  which  it  had  been  shut  off  for  ages. 

About  this  time,  however,  the  Southern  Pacific  Company  secured 
control  of  the  California  Development  Company,  and  took  charge, 
placing  the  matter  under  the  direction  of  Engineer  Rockwood,  who  then 
introduced  his  gate  plan,  which,  however,  was  subsequently  greatly 
changed.  But  then  another  great  flood  in  this  erratic  and  defiant  river 
came  down  in  November  of  that  year.  And  now  the  settlers  began  to 
despair  of  the  human  agencies  employed  to  control  these  vast  forces  of 
Nature,  as  well  they  might.  Rockwood's  gate-plan  was  again  resorted  to 
and  finally  completed  in  April,  1906,  at  a  cost  of  $130,000.  The  mad 
river  had  risen  from  6000  to  102,000  second  feet  in  three  days,  and  the 
impotency  of  man  was  again  apparent.  But  something  had  to  be  done. 

Then  the  big  railway  corporation  got  busy  and  ordered  this  break 
closed  at  once  at  whatever  cost.  Various  gates  were  built  and  performed 
wonders.  It  is,  however,  manifestly  impossible  to  follow  in  detail  all 
these  successive  floods  and  the  methods  used  to  control  them  from  this 
time  forward.  But,  strange  to  say,  in  spite  of  all  these  troubles  there 
was  still  much  industrial  prosperity  in  this  Valley.  And  yet  there  was 
much  misgiving  and  some,  becoming  desperate,  sold  out  and  moved 
away.  But  a  large  majority  of  these  indomitable  settlers  stuck  to  the 
enterprise  through  everything,  feeling  sure  that  the  great  river  would 


38  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

be  fully  controlled  ultimately.  Meanwhile,  however,  exaggerated  and 
absurd  reports  were  being  published  in  outside  papers  and  magazines. 
Even  the  Los  Angeles  Examiner  contained  a  report  that  an  under- 
ground fissure  had  opened,  allowing  the  waters  of  the  ocean  to  pour  in 
by  a  subterranean  passage  into  the  Salton  Sea,  and  that  the  Valley 
might  be  engulfed.  But  these  met  strong  refutation  very  soon,  and  the 
various  Valley  industries  went  steadily  on  as  usual,  with  many  new 
homes  building. 

The  Southern  Pacific  was  now  in  control  and  the  slogan  was,  "Stop 
that  water."  And  it  was  stopped. 

Just  previous  to  this  the  great  San  Francisco  earthquake  and  fire  had 
occurred.  President  E.  H.  Harriman,  of  the  railway  corporation,  had 
authorized  a  large  appropriation  for  the  entire  work  of  closing  this 
break,  although  he  had  just  arrived  by  special  train  while  the  ruins  of 
San  Francisco  were  still  smoking.  He  placed  Mr.  H.  T.  Cory  in  charge 
of  the  work,  and  he  proved  the  right  man  in  the  place  at  that  time. 
Without  following  in  detail  all  the  methods  used,  it  is  sufficient  to  say 
that  on  November  4  all  the  waters  of  the  yellow  dragon  were  again 
confined  to  their  old-time  channel  on  their  way  to  the  Gulf  of  California, 
and  the  work  had  taken  only  one  day  over  three  weeks. 

ANOTHER  FLOOD 

But  now,  in  spite  of  the  hurry  to  complete  the  dam  across  the  break, 
another  distressing  flood  broke  on  December  7,  and  in  36  hours  the 
entire  river  was  again  pouring  into  the  Salton  Sea.  Two  weeks  later,  at 
the  request  of  President  Roosevelt,  Mr.  Harriman  gave  orders  to  again 
make  the  closure,  and  this  was  completed  in  February,  1907.  Now  once 
more  the  old  river  went  peacefully  on  its  way  to  the  ocean. 

Meanwhile  the  career  of  the  California  Development  Company  had 
failed  to  keep  its  promises  in  extending  the  water-system  territory,  not 
supplying  the  people's  needs,  and  had  been  extravagant  in  its  use  of 
money.  Its  patrons  had  become  dissatisfied,  and  there  was  some  merit 
in  their  complaints.  This  finally  culminated  in  an  appeal  to  the  govern- 
ment reclamation  service  to  buy  out  the  company.  A  proposition  was 
made  to  organize  a  "water  users'  association,"  with  a  fund  of  $12,000,- 
000,  agreeing  with  the  government  to  purchase  the  property  of  the 
development  company,  place  the  whole  matter  under  the  management 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


39 


of  the  reclamation  service,  and  then  carry  on  the  business  of  serving 
water  in  this  Valley.  But  the  plan  did  not  work  smoothly  at  the  outset, 
owing  to  difference  in  opinion  as  to  valuation.  But  President  Heber 
finally  offered  to  sell  out  for  $3,000,000,  and  this  offer  was  promptly 
accepted  by  the  settlers,  and  congress  was  wired  to  that  effect.  But 
that  body  turned  down  the  plan.  Then  there  was  more  worry  all  through 
the  Valley,  and  the  development  company  became  an  object  of  distrust 
from  that  time  forward.  In  the  meantime  Mr.  Heber  died  at  Goldfield, 
Nevada.  But  soon  after  this  a  deal  was  made  with  the  railway  company 
to  close  the  river  break  for  $200,000,  which  was  given  as  a  loan,  the 
company  being  assigned  a  majority  of  the  stock  of  the  development 
company  as  security. 

Up  to  this  time  the  men  who  had  really  done  things,  and  made  the 
reclamation  of  this  desert  possible,  like  Engineer  Rockwood,  who  had 
sacrificed  himself  and  his  professional  success;  Mr.  Chaffey,  one  of 
California's  great  builders ;  Dr.  Heffernan,  who  lost  his  fortune,  and 
President  Heber,  who  had  devoted  all  his  heroic  energies  to  the  cause, 
struggling  through  one  financial  crisis  after  another,  had  merged  all 
their  interests  in  this  great  railway  company. 

Finally  in  the  spring  of  1910  Judge  Lovett,  the  new  president  of  the 
Pacific  Board  of  Directors,  decided  that  the  California  Development 
Company  must  be  disposed  of  at  once,  so  far  as  the  railway  corporation 
was  concerned.  This  meant,  of  course,  that  it  should  be  sold  at  auction 
to  the  highest  bidder.  Up  to  1903  these  promoters  had  very  little  to  do 
with  the  national  government  in  a  direct  way,  except  filing  on  public 
land.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  incredible  as  it  may  seem,  very  little  was 
officially  known  in  Washington  concerning  this  glorious  enterprise. 
Government  engineers  who  had  visited  the  Valley  reported  that  the 
irrigation  proposed  would  cost  $10,000,000.  Thus  no  further  action  was 
taken  at  the  time.  But  in  1903  there  seemed  to  be  new  interest  shown 
in  the  reclamation  of  public  lands  in  the  West.  This  resulted  from  the 
work  of  Theodore  Roosevelt,  Senator  Newlands,  of  Nevada,  and  Con- 
gressman Mendell,  of  Wyoming.  But,  as  before  stated,  as  a  result  of 
the  opposing  influence  of  the  reclamation  service  the  plan  was  de- 
feated. Various  reasons  for  this  antagonistic  attitude  were  imputed.  En- 
gineer Rockwood  advanced  the  theory  that  no  canal  from  the  Colorado 
River  could  be  a  permanent  success  unless  a  diversion  dam  were  con- 


40 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


structed  across  the  river  which  would  raise  the  water  in  order  that  the 
water  might  wash  out  the  silt  from  the  canal.  This  he  thought  was  the 
contention  of  the  government  engineers  at  the  time.  But  back  of  all  this 
there  seemed  to  be  a  hostile  feeling  among  the  officials  of  the  Reclama- 
tion Service.  Many  attacks  had  been  made  upon  the  integrity  of  the 
promoters  of  the  development  company.  It  had  been  predicted  that 
within  twenty  years  dire  calamity  would  befall  these  settlers  in  the 
Valley  and  that  they  would  be  drowned  out,  their  homes  and  fields 
forming  the  bottom  of  a  vast  inland  sea.  Another  consulting  engineer 
in  the  service  wrote  in  a  similar  vein,  warning  the  people  of  the  ruin 
impending.  In  this  way  the  reclamation  service  showed  their  animosity 
toward  this  project.  It  was  even  hinted  that  the  whole  survey  of  1854 
had  really  been  made  in  a  back  room  of  a  Yuma  saloon.  But  the  dis- 
covery of  some  old  sticks  of  that  survey  would  seem  to  refute  this 
implication.  Be  that  as  it  may,  however,  congress  authorized  a  resurvey 
of  the  district  in  1902,  but  this  was  not  completed  until  six  years  later, 
for  reasons  unknown.  Then  there  were  still  further  complications  and 
delay  in  getting  the  matter  through  the  general  land  office,  as  well  as 
many  technical  irregularities.  And  yet  it  is  believed  that  while  in  other 
parts  of  the  West  much  government  land  has  been  stolen,  it  is  thought 
that  none  of  this  land  in  the  Imperial  Valley  was  dishonestly  acquired 
by  those  now  engaged  in  the  attempt  to  reclaim  it  from  the  desert. 
Dishonesty  rarely  thrives  in  a  desert  waste.  But  as  this  began  to  grow 
into  a  fertile  garden  men  of  more  technical  nature  than  ethical  sensi- 
bilities saw  rich  prizes  here.  Through  some  blunders  of  the  land  office 
officials  they  found  many  ranches  where  technical  errors  had  been 
made.  Thus  they  began  many  contests  to  titles  held  by  rightful  owners. 
But  few  of  these  were  finally  sustained,  though  in  some  cases  they  were 
boldly  operated  by  professional  contestors,  acting  for  an  organization. 
But  the  courts  have  decided  that  an  innocent  purchaser  must  be  pro- 
tected. Concerning  the  relations  between  the  United  States  government 
and  the  Imperial  Valley,  the  main  point  pertains  to  the  full  control  of 
this  headstrong  Colorado.  President  Roosevelt,  in  a  special  message  to 
Congress,  January,  1907,  said  that  absolute  and  permanent  relief  should 
be  afforded  these  land  owners  in  this  Valley  in  such  a  way  as  to  prevent 
all  further  trouble  from  this  river.  He  said  that  much  of  this  land 
would  be  worth  from  $500  to  $1500  per  acre,  with  a  total  reaching 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


41 


perhaps  $700,000,000,  if  this  could  be  done.  He  asked  Congress  not  only 
to  return  to  the  Southern  Pacific  Company  the  amount  that  would  be 
required  to  close  the  second  crevasse  in  the  dikes  at  the  heading,  but 
also  to  appropriate  sufficient  money  that  the  great  river  might  be  for- 
ever restrained  from  its  erratic  wanderings.  And  he  claimed  that  this 
could  not  be  done  by  any  mere  private  enterprise.  An  international 
commission  was  thereupon  appointed  to  study  the  necessities  of  the 
situation.  This  commission  was  composed  of  one  member  from  the 
United  States  and  the  other  from  Mexico.  Subsequently  President  Taft 
also  asked  an  appropriation  from  Congress  to  control  the  Colorado, 
with  the  right  to  carry  the  work  into  Mexico.  This  bill,  authorizing  the 
President  to  use  one  million  dollars  for  that  purpose,  was  promptly 
rushed  through  both  houses.  The  claim  of  the  railway  corporation  for 
$1,500,000  for  this  work,  after  hanging  fire  for  three  years,  was  finally 
allowed  in  1910,  though  in  a  reduced  form. 

MORE  ABOUT  THE  COUNTY 

The  purpose  has  been  thus  far  to  record  with  some  detail  the  chronolog- 
ical history  of  the  development  and  early  progress  of  the  Valley.  If  the 
account  has  been  of  a  rambling  nature,  the  writer  will  perhaps  be  par- 
doned when  it  is  stated  that  it  was  deemed  best  to  follow  the  order 
observed  in  previous  records  of  these  facts.  It  will  be  seen,  as  stated  in 
a  previous  chapter,  that  the  actual  formation  of  the  county  itself  was 
not  among  the  early  features  of  development  here.  San  Diego  County 
had  an  extended  territory.  It  had  been  organized  as  a  county  in  1850, 
although  the  town  dated  back  to  1769.  But  it  remained  a  very  insig- 
nificant dot  on  the  map  for  over  fifty  years.  Of  course  the  reclamation 
of  this  lower  section,  known  as  the  Colorado  Desert,  was  wholly  un- 
dreamed of  at  that  time  and  for  long  years  afterward.  It  was  regarded 
as  a  worthless  region,  like  many  other  desert  sections  of  the  United 
States.  No  one  dreamed  that  people  could  ever  be  induced  to  live  amid 
such  desolation,  so  far  from  any  railway  line.  But  with  the  opening  of 
the  Imperial  Valley  a  wholly  different  situation  presented  itself.  The 
intervening  distance  and  lack  of  transportation  was  sorely  felt  by  the 
settlers.  They  were  nearly  300  miles  from  the  county  seat,  where  all 
public  business  had  to  be  transacted.  The  people  were  then  dealing 
with  the  government  offices,  which  sometimes  seemed  almost  inacces- 


42 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


sible  to  them  practically.  Thus  they  saw  the  need  of  some  relief.  The 
county  officials  of  course  also  had  this  distance  to  contend  with  in 
reaching  the  residents  of  the  Valley.  The  superintendent  of  schools  had 
to  drive  across  the  mountains  to  visit  the  schools,  and  then  cross  the 
desert  to  a  more  distant  settlement  in  the  mining  region.  Thus  it  appears 
that  except  just  before  an  election,  when  it  was  deemed  necessary  to 
interview  these  resident  voters,  the  visits  of  thse  San  Diego  County 
officials  were  supremely  rare.  Then,  too,  the  isolation  of  the  residents 
from  the  rest  of  the  world,  separated  by  vast  desert  wastes  and  moun- 
tain ranges,  was  in  no  way  conducive  to  comradeship,  save  in  their  own 
immediate  region.  New-comers  were  commonly  fused  with  the  pioneers, 
and  there  developed  what  may  be  called  an  imperial  spirit.  This  meant 
pride  of  section  and  an  ambition  to  make  it  a  unit  in  government  as 
well  as  in  purpose.  This  sentiment  grew  and  soon  became  a  powerful 
force  in  the  early  movement  for  county  division.  While  the  parent 
county  was  loathe  to  part  with  any  part  of  its  territory,  the  justice  of 
this  claim  for  separate  government  was  too  apparent  to  ignore.  Thus, 
as  detailed  in  a  previous  chapter,  formal  action  was  taken  and  the  new 
County  Imperial  was  duly  launched  and  placed  on  the  map  of  Califor- 
nia. The  bitter  struggle  for  the  county  seat  has  already  been  alluded  to. 

An  early  act  of  the  new  Board  of  Supervisors  created  a  Horticultural 
Commission  for  the  suppression  and  prevention  of  pests  and  diseases 
to  plant  life.  This  commission  has  labored  most  effectively  in  the  inter- 
est of  farmers  and  growers,  and  the  ravages  of  such  pests  common  to 
older  sections  of  the  country  have  been  kept  out  of  this  new  county. 

It  may  be  said  also  that  magazine  and  other  writers  of  the  period 
have  been  surprised  in  not  finding  the  usual  features  of  the  "wild  and 
woolly  west"  in  this  reclaimed  Valley.  Nothing  of  this  nature  has  pre- 
vailed here.  The  section  is  not  favored  by  idle  and  dissolute  men.  There 
is  no  record  of  any  gambling  hells,  drinking-places  nor  any  immoral 
dance  halls  as  yet,  despite  the  prediction  of  some  that  when  the  Valley 
became  more  populous  and  prosperous  there  would  be  loafers  on  the 
streets  and  thieves  along  the  highways.  It  is  pleasant  to  record,  there- 
fore, that  up  to  this  time  that  "high  state  of  modern  civilization"  has 
not  been  reached  in  this  new  county. 

Another  factor  worthy  of  mention  pertains  to  the  temper  and  spirit 
of  the  settlers  themselves.  They  come  here  to  make  their  homes,  live 


I 

■ 

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i 

HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


43 


and  do  business  with  all  the  energy  they  have,  bent  on  the  reclamation 
and  cultivation  of  the  soil  to  the  fullest  extent.  They  have  little  time 
or  patience  with  incapacity  or  incompetence.  Press,  pulpit  and  public 
opinion  are  united  in  maintaining  a  high  standard  of  decency  and  mor- 
ality. And  these  influences  have  discouraged  the  entrance  of  undesirable 
classes. 

Referring  further  to  some  of  the  various  county  towns,  it  may  be 
said  that  Calexico  was  at  first  a  camp  for  the  employees  of  the  Califor- 
nia Development  Company.  But  it  soon  increased  in  size  and  population, 
and  became  important  because  of  its  being  the  port  of  entry  into  Mex- 
ico by  way  of  the  Inter-California  Railroad  line  through  Baja  to  Yuma. 
The  Blue  Lake  region  was  settled  early  by  the  San  Diegans.  It  is  also 
an  important  base  of  supplies.  Brawley  assumed  considerable  impor- 
tance in  1903  and  it  has  grown  rapidly  since.  East  of  the  Alamo  River 
Holtville  is  the  supply  basis.  The  Holton  Interurban  Line  greatly  im- 
proved the  local  transportation  facilities.  But  the  boom  there  came 
when  the  first  artesian  well  was  sunk,  the  money  for  the  purpose  having 
been  raised  by  those  having  faith  in  the  scheme,  in  spite  of  the  ukase 
of  geologists  and  scientists,  who  decided  that  no  artesian  water  existed 
in  the  valley.  The  water-bearing  gravel  was  struck  at  a  depth  of  a  little 
over  800  feet.  This  was  in  1910,  and  the  find  created  a  big  sensation  in 
the  vicinity.  Not  far  away  a  second  well  was  bored  some  1100  feet 
deep.  This  passed  through  the  sweet  water  and  entered  a  stratum  of 
sand  which  carried  salt  water.  The  well  was  filled  up  to  the  800-foot 
level,  where  the  water  was  all  right.  This  discovery  gave  great  impetus 
to  these  east  side  districts,  where  the  soil  was  very  fertile,  and  farmers 
began  cutting  up  their  holdings  into  small  tracts  in  view  of  the  artesian 
water  possibilities,  and  there  was  an  active  demand  for  these  small 
farms.  Many  new  wells  were  bored  at  once  and  nearly  all  proved  suc- 
cessful. But  just  how  and  to  what  extent  the  territory  in  the  Valley  is 
underlain  with  this  fresh-water  stream  has  not  been  definitely  deter- 
mined, although  drilling  has  been  in  progress  in  scattered  sections.  And 
yet  it  is  not  considered  probable  that  it  will  be  found  in  many  parts  of 
the  Valley.  But  the  fact  that  it  was  found  at  all  shows  that  our  scien- 
tific men  are  not  always  right  in  their  deductions. 

The  town  of  Heber  was  established  at  a  point  where  another  town 
had  been  planned.  It  has  become  an  important  trading  point,  and  an 


44 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


agricultural  institution  known  as  the  Heber  Collegiate  Institute  is 
located  there. 

The  town  of  Imperial  was  so  named  for  the  Valley  itself,  as  it  is  the 
geographical  center  of  the  county. 

Calexico  is  a  combination  of  California  and  Mexico  in  name,  while 
the  border  town  of  Mexicali  received  its  appellation  by  a  similar  method. 
Holtville  was  named  in  honor  of  Mr.  W.  F.  Holt,  its  promoter.  El 
Centro  is  Spanish  for  the  center.  Brawley  got  its  name  for  a  friend  of 
Mr.  Heber  in  Chicago.  Silsbee,  on  the  shore  of  Blue  Lake,  was  named 
by  a  former  land  owner  there.  And  this  was  the  prevailing  method  used 
in  the  bestowal  of  names  for  most  of  the  smaller  towns  in  the  county. 
There  are  several  smaller  places  in  the  Valley,  however,  without  any 
special  names  as  yet. 

Within  these  county  bounds  are  still  an  Indian  reservation  and  school, 
six  working  gold  mines  and  a  large  part  of  the  mechanical  apparatus 
belonging  to  the  $4,000,000  government  reclamation  project.  This  Yuma 
Indian  reservation  contains  16,150  acres,  of  which  6500  were  thrown 
open  to  entry  under  the  homestead  act  of  1910  and  immediately  taken 
up.  The  balance  of  this  land  is  still  in  possession  of  the  Yuma  Indian 
tribe,  numbering  700  members  of  all  ages  and  both  sexes.  This  land  is 
equally  divided  among  them.  And  yet  some  350  of  them  were  in  revolt 
against  the  government  and  the  Indian  school  in  1895.  The  Catholic 
sisters,  then  in  charge  of  the  school,  were  driven  off  the  reservation  and 
fled  to  Mexico,  where  they  now  live.  It  is  thought  that  many  of  these 
will  never  return,  and  thus  more  of  this  land  will  be  thrown  open  for 
entry. 

THE  LAGUNA  DAM  AND  ITS  PURPOSE 

Much  has  been  said  concerning  the  project  of  putting  the  water  system 
under  the  Laguna  Dam  at  some  future  time.  This  is  known  as  the  Yuma 
Project.  Twelve  miles  north  of  Yuma,  on  the  Colorado,  the  water  falls 
between  two  rocky  headlands,  Laguna  on  the  Arizona  side,  and  Potholes 
in  Imperial  County.  These  rocks  are  about  one  mile  apart,  and  the 
government  has  built  a  weir  which  cost  $1,650,000.  This  is  a  fixed  spill- 
way ten  feet  from  the  bed  of  the  channel,  and  water  may  be  taken  from 
the  sluiceways  at  either  end  of  the  weir.  The  purpose  here  is  to  par- 
tially settle  the  water  which  is  taken  into  the  distributing  canals,  the 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY  45 

top  being  skimmed  for  irrigation  purposes,  and  the  silt  carried  back 
into  the  river  with  the  surplus.  The  total  cost  of  this  structure  in  Im- 
perial County  is  about  $750,000,  in  addition  to  the  dam  itself.  Most  of 
this  work  has  been  completed.  The  reasons  for  the  diversion  of  this 
water  under  the  river  are,  first,  the  only  available  site  for  such  a  struc- 
ture was  at  Laguna,  and  second,  that  the  entrance  of  the  Gila  River  on 
the  east  prevented  carrying  the  water  in  canals  in  Arizona  to  the  Yuma 
lands,  which  lie  below  the  level  of  the  Gila  stream.  Many  plans  have 
been  proposed  to  put  this  Valley  system  under  this  diversion  weir.  But 
there  seem  to  have  been  insurmountable  objections  to  all  of  these  thus 
far.  And  among  these  is  the  opposition  of  the  people  to  any  plan  placing 
their  water  system  under  the  control  of  the  government  Reclamation 
Service  because  of  its  antagonistic  attitude  from  the  start. 

The  opening  of  the  Yuma  Reservation  lands  to  settlement  in  1910 
added  some  173  farms  to  those  already  in  the  county.  These  average 
about  forty  acres  each  and  are  proving  very  productive  under  the  ex- 
cellent water  system  provided.  These  farms  pay  $65  an  acre  for  water 
rights  under  the  Laguna  project. 

The  Yuma  Indian  School  was  built  by  the  United  States  army  in 
1848,  and  it  stands  on  an  historic  hill.  Generals  Fremont  and  Kearney 
made  their  headquarters  on  this  hill  on  many  occasions,  and  for  ten 
years  a  large  garrison  was  maintained  there.  It  was  the  scene  of  many 
battles  with  the  Indians,  and  there  are  still  many  marks  of  those  con- 
flicts. While  these  Yuma  Indians  are  now  quiet  and  docile,  they  do  not 
take  kindly  to  American  civilization,  as  most  other  aborigines  do.  There 
appears  to  be  a  discouraging  tendency  among  the  tribesmen  to  return 
to  their  native  ways  after  they  leave  school. 

LEADING   PROMOTERS   AND  SOME  OF  THEIR   ACHIEVEMENTS 

While  the  biographical  section  of  this  work  will  be  found  to  include 
detailed  accounts  of  the  life  and  history  of  the  great  pioneers  and  pro- 
moters of  this  Valley,  it  is  not  out  of  place  perhaps  to  make  some  gen- 
eral reference  to  their  work  in  this  general  article  as  well. 

Among  these  is  Mr.  W.  F.  Holt,  who  is  credited  with  being  the  most 
noted  man  here  and  has  become  wealthy  through  his  legitimate  pro- 
motion of  the  Valley's  interests.  His  town  property  holdings  at  one 
time  were  the  largest  of  any  single  individual  in  the  region.  He  is  a 


46  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

virile  and  able  business  man  and  far-seeing,  tireless  worker  in  any  good 
cause  that  appeals  to  him,  always  optimistic  and  enthusiastic  regarding 
this  Valley  and  its  glowing  possibilities,  ready  to  infuse  new  courage 
into  despondent  men  who  may  be  overcome  by  adversity.  A  strict 
philanthropist,  he  would  give  a  tramp  a  pile  of  wood  first  and  double 
pay  afterward.  The  needs  of  this  Valley  have  been  uppermost  in  his 
mind,  and  he  has  spent  vast  sums  of  money  in  its  development.  A  Mis- 
souri man,  born  on  a  farm  there,  married  his  old-time  sweetheart,  and 
they  have  been  active  partners  ever  since.  He  established  banks  in  dif- 
ferent parts  of  the  West,  but  was  always  in  search  of  some  new  country 
where  he  could  help  it  grow  and  develop.  What  a  find  he  was,  therefore, 
to  this  Valley !  It  was  in  the  spring  of  1901  when  he  first  looked  across 
the  vista  of  years  into  a  country  of  many  homes  and  big  with  possibili- 
ties. He  thought  it  might  become  an  empire,  and  he  began  at  once  to 
boost  its  interests.  His  first  thought  was  to  build  a  telephone  line  to  the 
outside  world.  After  receiving  an  exclusive  franchise  for  this  purpose 
and  a  small  block  of  water-stock  from  the  Imperial  Land  Company  he 
went  right  ahead  stringing  his  wires.  Meanwhile  he  saw  the  advantages 
of  a  local  newspaper,  and  this  was  accordingly  established  on  a  similar 
basis.  He  installed  the  plant  and  placed  Henry  Clay  Reid  in  charge. 
This  was  the  beginning  of  the  Imperial  Press.  Being  a  churchman  and 
in  favor  of  promoting  ethics,  morality  and  education,  and  the  higher 
principles  of  civic  progress,  he  secured  the  influence  and  association  of 
friends  and  an  organization  was  effected  and  a  small  church  edifice  was 
built,  Mr.  Holt  paying  the  salary  of  the  preacher  for  two  years.  Mean- 
while the  land  company  was  in  hearty  accord  with  him  and  agreed  to 
furnish  water  stock  to  repay  him.  He  always  regarded  this  move  of 
vast  importance  to  the  best  interests  of  the  Valley  and  said  it  was  a 
start  to  build  here  a  civilization  ahead  of  the  time.  One  day,  riding  out 
on  the  stage,  he  heard  two  thirsty  men  bemoaning  the  absence  of 
saloons,  saying  they  would  not  put  a  cent  into  the  country  until  sure 
that  saloons  would  be  permitted.  Mr.  Holt  told  them  such  men  were  not 
wanted  there  at  all,  nor  one  cent  of  their  capital.  Strange  to  say,  how- 
ever, that  one  of  these  very  men  has  since  invested  thousands  of  dollars 
there  and  now  says  that  this  prohibition  of  saloons  was  the  best  thing 
the  Valley  ever  did.  Mr.  Holt  was  also  instrumental  in  securing  the 
railway  from  Imperial  to  the  main  line  on  the  Southern  Pacific,  some 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY  47 

28  or  30  miles.  He  afterward  made  large  profits  from  a  favorable  con- 
tract with  the  California  Development  Company  as  a  promoter,  to 
which  he  was  justly  entitled.  He  in  turn  assisted  the  development  com- 
pany to  much  ready  money  at  different  times,  and,  in  fact,  became  a 
sort  of  national  banker  for  the  settlers. 

This  man  had  implicit  faith  in  the  future  of  this  Valley.  He  believed 
in  the  people  and  the  righteousness  of  human  nature  in  general.  He 
had  never  been  cheated  out  of  a  dollar  in  his  life,  never  brought  a  law- 
suit to  collect  damages  or  claims,  never  foreclosed  a  mortgage,  and  yet 
had  been  loaning  money  and  selling  on  credit  all  his  life.  Give  a  man  a 
chance  and  time  to  pay  and  don't  crowd  him,  was  his  motto.  He  be- 
lieved in  people.  It  was  in  this  way  that  he  kept  on  buying,  building, 
improving  and  spending  money  in  the  Valley.  Thus  at  the  opening  of 
1903  he  had  increased  his  capital  by  over  $20,000.  After  irrigating  No. 
7  district  he  saw  water  running  to  waste  in  the  Alamo  channel  and  was 
told  it  had  between  500  and  1000  horsepower  of  electric  energy.  Then 
he  formed  the  Holton  Power  Company,  and  a  few  months  afterward 
men  wanted  to  buy  stock  in  that  corporation,  but  there  was  none  on  the 
market.  He  purchased  townsites  and  built  the  Interurban  Railway.  One 
of  these  townsites  became  El  Centro  later.  He  built  a  business  block 
and  the  Opera  House,  costing  $50,000,  even  then  when  the  total  popu- 
lation of  the  town  could  have  been  seated  in  a  single  passenger  coach. 
People  said  a  lot  of  mean  things  about  him,  some  of  which  were  true, 
too.  Many  don't  like  him,  but  lots  of  others  do.  The  Holt  Power  Com- 
pany is  capitalized  for  a  million  dollars,  owning  the  electric-light  plant 
in  five  towns,  three  other  power-plants  and  five  cold-storage  houses. 
And  during  late  years  Mr.  Holt  has  begun  the  construction  of  a  gridiron 
system  of  roads  which  reaches  the  shipping  of  every  acre  of  ground 
in  the  entire  district.  Other  most  important  enterprises  are  being  rap- 
idly carried  forward,  and  the  land  company  is  now  capitalized  for  over 
three  million  dollars.  Mr.  Holt  surely  has  been  a  true  pioneer  and  per- 
haps the  greatest  of  them  all  in  Imperial  Valley.  The  record  here  given 
is  only  a  brief  summary  of  his  many  achievements. 

Mr.  W.  E.  Wilsie  is  another  of  these  prominent  pioneer  settlers  who 
have  won  marked  success.  Coming  first  in  1901,  in  the  following  No- 
vember he  laid  out  the  streets  of  Brawley,  which  then  had  only  two 
other  residents.  In  the  succeeding  winter  he  farmed  300  acres,  and  the 


48  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

next  summer  shipped  three  carloads  of  barley  and  one  of  wheat,  the 
first  ever  shipped  from  the  Valley.  And  it  had  been  cut  by  a  combined 
reaper  and  harvester.  He  afterward  became  associated  with  numerous 
corporations  in  the  Valley  in  an  official  capacity,  and  was  also  Horticul- 
tural Commissioner  of  the  county,  winning  high  favor  for  his  most 
effective  service  in  that  position.  He  was  a  director  in  the  first  creamery 
and  stock-breeders'  association,  president  of  the  first  cantaloupe  asso- 
ciation, secretary  of  the  library  board,  trustee  of  the  Heber  Collegiate 
Institute,  and  an  official  in  various  other  corporations. 

Mr.  George  Nichols  was  also  among  these  prominent  early  pioneers. 
He  shared  in  the  colonization  of  newcomers  and  in  all  public  affairs, 
especially  near  Silsbee.  He  was  also  a  leader  in  road  and  school  district 
work.  More  than  ioo  persons  were  brought  into  the  Valley  by  him, 
most  of  them  from  the  old  San  Diego  section.  He  opened  the  first  real 
estate  office  in  Imperial.  His  own  ranch  was  six  miles  southwest  of 
El  Centra,  where  he  now  runs  a  real  estate  office.  He  saw  the  first  crop 
of  alfalfa  grown  in  the  Valley,  near  Diamond  Lake. 

Roy  McPherrin  was  among  the  first  lawyers  in  this  section,  and  he 
tells  some  quaint  stories  of  conditions  he  found  on  arrival  to  take  a 
position  in  the  Imperial  Mutual  Water  Company,  in  connection  with 
which  he  had  a  prominent  share  in  the  reclamation  of  the  land. 

W.  H.  Hartshorn  was  another  leading  pioneer.  He  became  manager 
of  the  ice-plant  erected  by  the  Imperial  Land  Company,  and  he  kept 
the  price  of  this  much-needed  commodity  at  one  cent  per  pound.  He 
afterward  piped  the  city  for  water  and  turned  on  the  first  water  used 
in  the  homes.  Then  next  he  established  a  transfer  company,  with  a 
specially  designed  dray  for  the  purpose,  with  a  big  bay  horse  in  front 
of  the  vehicle  that  created  quite  a  sensation  on  the  streets.  He  also 
shared  materially  in  the  colonization  work,  having  an  extensive  ac- 
quaintance on  the  coastside  of  San  Diego  County.  He  built  one  of  the 
first  private  residences  in  Imperial. 

Mr.  J.  H.  Holland  came  from  San  Jose  with  a  full  line  of  stock  and 
farming  implements.  After  spending  some  time  in  building  canals  and 
hauling  freight  from  the  railroad  he  stocked  his  farm  and  planted 
alfalfa. 

For  a  time  the  introduction  of  Bermuda  grass  into  this  Valley  was 
regarded  as  a  dangerous  accession,  and  it  became  known  as  "devil 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY  49 

grass."  But  Mr.  D.  W.  Breckenridge,  who  entered  the  Valley  soon 
afterward,  found  use  for  it.  He  sent  to  Arizona  for  seed,  and  on  this 
rich  forage  he  raised  the  best  fatted  cattle  of  the  season.  And  he  sub- 
sequently had  great  success  with  this  grass  for  years  in  rearing  cattle 
and  sheep.  It  starts  growing  early  in  the  spring,  and  the  animals  seem 
very  fond  of  it.  He  claims  it  has  as  much  nourishment  as  alfalfa,  with 
no  tendency  to  disease.  It  also  possesses  great  heat  and  drouth  resisting 
qualities.  This  proved  a  decided  innovation,  as  the  grass  had  been  uni- 
versally condemned  by  others.  He  also  thwarted  successfully  several 
attempts  to  rob  him  of  his  land  there  on  a  technicality,  in  the  courts. 

The  first  important  butcher  and  meat  shop  in  the  region  was  opened 
by  the  Thing  Brothers,  of  Calexico.  They  bought  and  killed  their  own 
stock,  and  finally,  in  1907,  they  built  a  fine  business  block,  the  largest  in 
this  southern  end  of  the  Valley. 

W.  A.  Young,  another  Valley  pioneer,  drove  in  from  a  point  near 
Los  Angeles  in  1901.  Poor  and  pretty  nearly  broke  he  said  he  was  at 
that,  time.  His  family  lived  under  a  "ramada"  made  of  arrowweed 
shoots  thatched  on  a  frame  eight  feet  high.  These  "ramadas"  are  famil- 
iar objects  all  through  the  Valley,  few  of  the  ranches  being  without 
them.  Their  shelter  from  the  sun  is  superior  to  anything  else. 

W.  C.  Raymond,  a  Canadian,  who  went  to  Arizona  several  years  ago 
and  roughed  it  there  until  he  heard  of  this  Valley  in  1903,  saddled  up 
and  rode  into  this  promised  land.  Here  he  camped  until  finding  a  suit- 
able location,  when  he  began  his  work  upon  improvements  at  once.  But 
now  the  old  river  rushed  into  his  ranch  and  drove  him  out,  and  he 
finally  moved  to  another,  planted  320  acres  of  barley  and  alfalfa,  and 
raised  hogs  with  success,  cleaning  up  $7000  in  1909.  Then  he  put  in  80 
acres  of  cotton  the  next  year. 

William  Lindsey  was  one  of  the  great  eastside  pioneers  who  arrived 
in  1902,  when  the  place  was  still  a  wilderness.  But  he  also  was  driven 
out  by  the  flood.  The  Colorado  was  no  respecter  of  persons,  but  it  some- 
times seemed  the  great  stream  sought  to  discourage  newcomers.  But 
Mr.  Lindsey  finally  overcame  this  unfriendly  greeting  and  prospered. 

D.  H.  Coe  rode  in  on  a  bicycle  in  1901,  passed  through  all  the  trials 
and  tribulations  incident  to  that  period,  and  now  has  a  ranch  of  200 
acres  six  miles  northwest  of  Holtville,  and  is  one  of  the  most  enthusi- 
astic boosters  of  the  country.  The  mercury  stood  at  117  when  he  ar- 


5o 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


rived,  and  his  wheel  was  a  great  help  to  him,  although  he  saw  not  a 
soul  except  from  a  distance  at  the  time.  But  he  rode  straight  to  the  spot 
he  wanted  and  now  has  some  200  acres  planted  in  alfalfa,  barley  and 
cotton,  a  large  herd  of  stock,  and  is  a  purely  business  rancher. 

F.  E.  Van  Horn,  three  miles  east  of  El  Centro,  was  among  the  first 
to  reach  and  grow  up  with  the  Valley,  and  his  faith  in  it  has  never 
flagged.  He  started  the  first  school  ever  held  there,  walking  three  miles 
each  way,  with  books  very  hard  to  get,  and  the  methods  of  teaching 
very  primitive. 

Among  those  who  became  early  impressed  with  the  value  of  cotton 
as  a  Valley  crop  was  L.  E.  Srack,  who  came  from  Riverside  in  1901. 
Later  he  installed  plants  for  the  care  of  the  by-products  of  cotton-oil 
and  cotton-seed  meal,  which  were  built  in  1910. 

Among  the  pioneers  there  with  unconquerable  souls,  who  fought  the 
water  floods  back  and  won,  was  B.  F.  McDonald.  When  he  saw  the 
flood  coming  in  he  said :  "We  have  put  this  water  on  the  land  where  we 
want  it ;  now  we  can  surely  keep  it  off  when  we  don't  want  it.  Let's 
try."  They  did,  and  won  in  the  end.  The  waters  receded  and  their 
ranches  and  stock  were  saved  because  of  their  vigilant  and  effective 
efforts.  Being  a  Louisiana  cottonman  originally,  he  knew  the  game  and 
how  to  manage  it,  having  160  acres  in  cotton.  He  was  enthusiastic  over 
the  merits  of  that  staple  for  that  region. 

Steve  Lyons  was  of  Irish  descent.  Having  been  reared  on  a  ranch  in 
Salinas,  some  of  the  advantages  of  city  school  life  and  social  intercourse 
with  cultured  and  educated  people  had  left  an  impress  upon  his  native 
character.  And  it  is  said  of  him  that  he  possessed  the  spirit  of  the  Val- 
ley in  a  marked  degree.  He  brought  some  capital  into  the  new  country, 
and  much  sound  business  judgment,  all  products  of  hard  work  and 
good  thinking.  The  Valley  had  been  only  partially  developed  in  1904 
when  Steve  arrived.  The  territory  west  of  Calexico  was  barely 
scratched,  although  the  ditch  system  was  under  construction  in  the 
entire  west  side.  Lyons  saw  that  land  was  to  be  king  and  he  filed  on  a 
half-section  at  once.  But  seeing  a  more  profitable  field  for  his  activities 
in  the  contracting  business,  he  pitched  into  that  with  his  brothers,  and 
they  built  over  fifty  miles  of  the  main  ditches  and  laterals  for  the  Cali- 
fornia Development  Company.  Being  skilled  in  the  work,  they  found  no 
difficulty  in  securing  good  contracts  for  grading  and  ditching.  Mean- 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY  51 

while  Steve  began  developing  his  own  property,  and  in  the  fall  of  1907, 
when  the  new  County  Imperial  was  launched,  these  Lyons  boys  baled 
more  hay  and  threshed  more  grain  than  any  other  combination  in  the 
district.  They  operated  on  a  large  scale  and  kept  forever  going  ahead 
with  courage  and  unshaken  nerve,  in  spite  of  all  threatened  river  dan- 
gers. They  bought  565  acres  in  Mexico,  near  Calexico,  which  they  pur- 
posed to  use  as  a  model  stock  farm  or  a  cotton  plantation. 

Such  are  some  of  the  characteristics  which  go  to  make  up  the  aggres- 
sive spirit,  and  yet  conservative  business  balance  in  agriculture.  It  is 
ability  coupled  with  willingness,  good  health,  mental,  moral  and  phys- 
ical, and  above  all  an  abounding  faith  in  the  work  in  hand.  This  imparts 
self-confidence  and  insures  success. 

Socially,  perhaps,  no  man  in  the  Valley  has  done  more  for  the  pro- 
motion of  affairs  than  Phil.  W.  Brooks,  whose  ranch  is  between  El 
Centro  and  Holtville.  His  generous  hospitality  is  well  known  from 
Yuma  to  Cuayamaca.  He  came  from  a  New  England  agricultural  school, 
at  Amherst  College,  in  1903,  possessing  enthusiasm  and  energy  and  cap- 
ital. He  bought  and  sold  ranches  and  developed  them,  and  now,  near 
El  Centro,  he  has  80  acres  of  Thompson's  seedless  grapes,  besides  other 
lands.  He  is  now  the  general  manager  of  the  Britten-Cook  Land  and 
Live-stock  Company,  which  is  investing  hundreds  of  thousands  of  dol- 
dollars  in  the  hog-raising  industry  in  Imperial  Valley.  Mr.  Brooks  has 
recently  resigned  the  office  of  receiver  of  the  U.  S.  Land  Office  at  El 
Centro.  Mr.  Brooks  has  been  a  powerful  factor  for  good  in  that  com- 
munity, through  his  influence  in  relieving  the  monotony  of  frontier 
life. 

Dave  Williams  was  among  the  early  pioneers  in  the  realm  of  sports. 
He  organized,  financed  and  managed  the  Imperial  Valley  Wild  West 
shows,  which  furnished  so  much  entertainment  and  amusement  for 
thousands  in  the  winter  of  1909.  He  is  called  the  father  of  the  Christ- 
mas fiesta  idea  that  made  Holtville  famous.  He  is  also  a  public-spirited 
man  who  never  fails  to  respond  when  called  upon  for  assistance  in  the 
promotion  of  the  best  interests  of  the  district.  He  takes  time  to  enjoy 
life  as  he  goes  along  and  tries  to  help  others  do  the  same.  And  yet  he 
is  not  a  retired  capitalist,  but  only  a  plain  rancher.  He  came  originally 
from  Canada,  ranched  for  some  years  in  Washington,  and  then  heard 
of  this  Valley,  where  he  bought  a  ranch  in  the  spring  of  1907.  Here  he 


52 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


now  has  560  acres  in  alfalfa  and  27  stacks  of  hay  containing  some  900 
tons.  On  one  of  these  fertile  fields  this  farmer  found  a  single  stalk  of 
alfalfa  7  feet  8^2  inches  long.  This  ranch  is  five  miles  from  Holtville, 
on  the  Highland  Boulevard,  the  finest  nine-mile  stretch  of  road  in  that 
district.  He  delights  in  outdoor  sports,  and  is  always  ready  to  "start 
something"  of  that  nature.  He  is  credited  with  having  added,  more 
than  any  other  man,  to  the  joy  of  living  on  that  side  of  the  Alamo 
River. 

H.  J.  Messinger  of  Holtville  was  a  frontiersman,  having  served  as 
Indian  trader,  teacher  and  reservation  superintendent.  Next  he  became 
a  member  of  the  territorial  legislature,  and  assisted  in  the  government 
formation.  While  in  northern  Arizona,  trading  with  the  Indians,  he 
learned  of  the  Imperial  Valley  settlement.  Gathering  a  carload  of  work- 
stock,  he  reached  there  in  1903,  when  the  east  side  was  beginning  to 
blossom.  He  began  building  ditches  and  sowing  seed,  mainly  upon 
leased  land.  But,  prospering  in  grain  raising,  he  soon  entered  the  grain 
commission  and  seed  business.  In  1904  he  finally  settled  in  Holtville, 
opened  a  livery  and  feed  business,  but  also  continued  his  farm  work  on 
leased  land,  although  he  afterward  acquired  an  extensive  acreage  and 
speculated  most  advantageously.  In  1908  he  brought  to  the  front  what 
is  known  as  the  "high-line  country." 

Mr.  William  J.  Mansfield  came  into  the  Valley  in  1903,  having  some 
capital  and  business  experience.  He  went  to  work  himself  in  a  new  suit 
of  overalls,  with  his  team,  on  the  hummocks,  which  he  bravely  sub- 
dued. He  thinks  he  spent  some  $22,000,  exclusive  of  his  own  work. 
But  it  resulted  in  one  of  the  finest  ranches  in  the  district,  where  he  soon 
became  a  prominent  leader.  Later  he  was  selected  as  the  Republican 
candidate  for  State  Assemblyman  from  that  district,  for  which  he  had 
every  qualification,  being  a  farmer,  business  man  and  director  in  vari- 
ous corporations.  It  is  of  course  unnecessary  to  add  that  Mr.  Mans- 
field has  been  an  Imperial  Valley  booster  from  the  first. 

Mr.  George  A.  Long  was  for  years  called  the  "cattle  king"  of  the 
Valley.  He  fattened  more  steers  than  any  other  man,  and  built  a  mod- 
ern sanitary  meat  packing  house  from  government  plans.  He  fattened 
stock  at  his  own  expense,  and  bought  320  acres  between  the  towns  of 
El  Centro  and  Imperial,  put  it  into  alfalfa,  fenced  and  divided  it  into 
separate  pastures.  In  addition  to  this,  however,  he  leased  nearly  1000 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY  53 

acres  adjoining,  upon  which  he  fattened  the  Arizona  mountain-bred 
steers,  of  which  he  usually  had  from  1000  to  3000  head  in  various 
stages  of  preparation. 

Thomas  O'Neil,  a  ranch  owner  near  Imperial  now,  came  from  a 
peaceful  town  in  Pennsylvania  with  an  absorbing  desire  to  fight  Indi- 
ans, but  without  any  idea  of  the  hardships,  discomforts  and  dangers 
attendant  upon  that  warlike  pursuit.  He  followed  the  intrepid  Custer 
through  the  Yellowstone  campaign  in  1873,  and  the  round-up  in  the 
Black  Hills  the  next  year  which  led  to  the  fatal  Big  Horn  fight  in  1876. 
But  O'Neil  had  left  the  Black  Hills  and  went  pioneering  on  his  own 
account  in  Phoenix,  Arizona,  and  finally  brought  up  in  Imperial  Val- 
ley in  the  winter  of  1902.  Here  he  leased  64  acres  and  established  a 
small  dairy.  He  was  then  a  bachelor  with  only  his  famous  "Snip"  pony 
as  a  companion,  but  later  he  took  Mrs.  Adams  as  life  partner,  and  he 
now  laughs  as  he  recalls  the  place  and  methods  of  his  courtship,  as  he 
smokes  his  evening  pipe  of  contentment  in  his  comfortable  home. 

Other  romantic  incidents  of  this  nature  might  well  be  cited  here  if 
space  permitted.  And  yet  the  career  of  Harry  Van  den  Heuvel,  who 
came  in  from  Riverside  in  1903,  with  $25  of  borrowed  money,  seems 
worthy  of  mention.  Pie  went  to  work  for  others  with  a  vim  that  meant 
success.  In  1904  he  began  to  coax  his  quarter-section  of  land  west  of 
El  Centro  upon  which  he  had  filed  into  productiveness.  His  only  part- 
ner was  an  old  gray  mare,  and  she  stood  by  him  from  first  to  last  and 
did  most  effective  service.  Finding  trouble  in  securing  help  to  thresh 
his  grain  crop,  he  secured  a  threshing  machine  and  went  at  it  himself 
and  also  worked  for  his  neighbors  with  it.  In  this  way  he  re-established 
his  credit,  paid  all  his  bills  with  interest  and  had  a  surplus  left.  The  old 
gray  mare  at  last  accounts  was  feeding  in  a  broad  field  of  alfalfa,  pen- 
sioned for  life.  Six  hundred  of  these  fertile  acres  are  now  under  Heu- 
vel's  control,  and  his  place  is  valued  at  $60,000,  free  and  clear. 

Between  El  Centro  and  Mobile  is  the  "Poole  Place,"  which  is  noted 
for  its  high  state  of  cultivation,  with  many  fine  shade  trees  and  a  pros- 
perous looking  home.  Mr.  Poole  is  a  typical  American  farmer  who  came 
in  November,  1903,  with  no  capital  save  his  personal  energy  and  de- 
termination to  succeed.  With  these  valuable  assets  he  went  to  work, 
put  in  his  crops  on  2220  acres,  housing  his  family  in  a  rude  shelter  for 
a  time  until  he  could  build  a  more  permanent  home,  which  now  stands 


54 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


in  sharp  contrast  with  the  old  quarters.  Meanwhile  he  leased  320  addi- 
tional acres  near  at  hand.  While  on  a  short  vacation  a  fire  broke  out  in 
his  house,  destroying  60  tons  of  hay  and  a  much  valued  young  stallion, 
and  considerable  other  property.  But  he  took  this  misfortune  resigned- 
ly, and  in  the  spring  of  1910  he  erected  a  fine  new  dwelling  at  a  cost  of 
$2000. 

It  has  been  customary  in  the  East  in  referring  to  these  farmers  and 
rural  residents  by  writers  who  speak  of  them  as  "hayseeds,"  with  long 
hair  and  whiskers,  unkempt  and  unsophisticated,  and  even  yet  this  class 
is  furnishing  inspiration  to  caricaturists  and  pencil-pushers  for  comic 
supplements.  But  it  may  be  said  here  that  these  early  pioneers  in  this 
Valley  were  not  of  that  class,  if  indeed  there  ever  was  such  a  class  of 
people  any  way  as  these  imaginative  writers  try  to  picture.  Pioneers 
with  the  courage  and  grit  to  squat  in  such  a  desolate  waste  as  this  was 
before  its  reclamation  are  made  of  wholly  different  stuff.  In  order  to 
bring  a  ranch  into  a  high  grade  of  efficiency  and  make  it  yield  dividends 
there  must  be  business  sagacity  back  of  all  the  hard  work. 

Mr.  J.  H.  Blodgett,  who  filed  on  a  full  section  of  this  reclaimed  land 
five  miles  northwest  of  Holtville,  is  a  man  of  this  type.  He  came  from 
Nebraska  in  the  fall  of  1904  with  small  means  and  lots  of  energy  and 
ambition.  He  put  in  alfalfa,  with  some  grain  and  other  annual  crops, 
and  hogs  as  a  side  line,  and  also  a  few  dairy  features.  And  he  says  he 
has  found  this  combination  profitable  and  desirable  and  would  not  run 
a  ranch  without  it.  But  he  also  planted  cotton,  of  which  he  had  250 
acres  in  1910,  without  even  suspecting  or  anticipating  the  sharp  ad- 
vance in  price  of  this  staple  that  the  war  would  bring.  He  has  made 
good  in  hog-raising,  feeding  them  skimmed  milk,  alfalfa,  corn  and  bar- 
ley. This  man  was  the  first  in  the  No.  5  district  to  drill  for  artesian 
water,  which  he  struck  with  a  strong  flow  at  a  depth  of  580  feet.  This 
supply  has  been  piped  into  his  house  and  farm  hydrants. 

James  M.  Potts  is  another  example  worthy  of  emulation  by  anemic 
youths  who  stand  behind  dry-goods  counters,  or  sit  upon  high  office 
stools  wrestling  with  figures  and  bemoaning  their  lack  of  opportunity 
to  do  something  worth  while  at  a  big  salary  and  be  somebody.  Mr. 
Potts  was  only  21  when  he  reached  the  Valley  in  1905.  But  he  borrowed 
$100  cash  in  some  way  and  took  up  some  land  near  Holtville.  Mixing 
brains  with  his  labor,  he  traded,  worked  for  others  and  tilled  his  own 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY  55 

farm,  all  with  success.  He  brought  a  carload  of  horses  and  mules  from 
the  coast,  turned  them  loose  in  his  alfalfa  patch  for  a  time,  which  re- 
newed their  youth  and  vigor  in  a  way  that  enabled  him  to  sell  out  at  a 
handsome  profit.  This  experiment  was  frequently  repeated  with  like 
results,  and  the  profits  were  put  back  into  the  ranch  improvements, 
where  he  now  has  60  acres  of  alfalfa  and  20  acres  of  cotton.  This 
shows  what  industry,  persistence  and  faith  will  do  for  a  man  who  is  in 
earnest  to  succeed.  The  record  does  not  show  that  Mr.  Potts  was  a  great 
genius,  as  the  world  defines  that  special  gift.  But  it  does  show  that  he 
made  the  very  best  use  of  his  native  equipment. 

Lee  Dutcher,  who  came  to  the  Valley  early  in  1905,  is  another  man  of 
this  type.  And  it  should  be  said  that  the  region  has  been  very  fortunate 
in  having  so  many  of  this  class  among  its  early  settlers.  But  for  this 
fact  its  development  and  progress  would  not  have  been  so  marked  nor 
so  permanent. 

W.  S.  Moore,  who  came  from  western  Pennsylvania  in  the  fall  of 
1903,  with  $45  cash  and  a  roll  of  blankets,  struck  a  job  as  laborer  at 
once,  and  kept  at  it  until  he  could  buy  a  team  of  horses  and  a  hay- 
press.  The  following  summer  he  secured  160  acres  of  land  near  the 
present  site  of  El  Centre  He  planted  barley  and  alfalfa,  and  the  next 
year  added  some  stock.  In  1909  he  began  to  call  his  place  a  "ranch"  like 
the  rest  of  the  "fellers"  because  he  had  150  hogs  and  27  cows,  and 
planned  to  feed  them.  He  then  lost  a  little  by  a  cantaloupe  experience 
which,  however,  he  made  up  with  his  hogs  and  forgot  about  his  mel- 
ons. His  1910  trial  balance  showed  assets  aggregating  $35,200. 

The  personal  history  and  achievements  of  I.  J.  Harris,  who  came  to 
the  Valley  with  an  invalid  wife  from  Louisiana  in  1904,  is  also  inter- 
esting. She  was  suffering  from  a  bronchial  affection  and  came  here  in 
search  of  relief.  Instead  of  taking  government  land,  as  most  of  the  set- 
tlers did,  Mr.  Harris  bought  his  land  outright,  though  he  came  to  Im- 
perial without  any  capital.  He  went  to  work  by  the  day,  and  after  a 
time  he  saved  money  enough  to  buy  80  acres  more,  this  time  in  the  Mes- 
quite  Lake  section.  He  is  a  great  believer  in  the  eucalyptus,  but  he  also 
raised  fine  crops  of  alfalfa,  barley  and  grapes.  After  six  years  of  this 
Valley  life  his  wife  had  regained  her  health.  Mr.  Harris  is  one  of  the 
best  citizens  of  the  Valley. 

In  a  public  address  to  college  men  at  an  informal  luncheon  in  Im- 


56  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

perial  in  1910  President  Babcock,  of  the  University  of  Arizona,  advised 
small  farm  units  of  from  15  to  20  acres  in  this  reclaimed  section.  While 
this  might  result  in  dense  population  in  large  central  towns,  and  in- 
creased business  of  all  kinds,  it  would  mean  also  more  intensive  farm 
methods. 

Acting  perhaps  upon  these  suggestions,  Mr.  S.  C.  Tomkins  purchased 
40  acres  near  Holtville,  where  he  plans  to  make  a  fortune.  He  started  a 
small  dairy  with  30  cows,  experimenting  with  "balanced  rations,"  with 
mixed  feed  and  hay.  And  he  reports  most  encouraging  results,  having 
already  built  an  alfalfa  mill  large  enough  for  his  own  work  and  for  the 
use  of  his  neighbors.  He  now  claims  he  can  feed  one  dairy  cow  on  an 
acre  the  year  through  and  leave  room  enough  for  truck  raising,  fruit 
and  poultry.  All  his  experiments  thus  far  have  been  confined  to  this  40 
acres  of  land.  He  came  from  Los  Angeles  after  a  long  experience  in 
commercial  life,  and  has  therefore  conducted  his  ranch  on  business 
principles. 

J.  M.  Cardiff  came  from  San  Bernardino  when  things  in  the  Valley 
didn't  look  very  promising.  After  living  in  an  irrigation  country  for 
many  years  he  looked  upon  the  vagrant  Colorado  River  with  consider- 
able alarm  unless  it  could  be  permanently  controlled.  But  he  concluded 
to  cast  his  lot  with  the  many  powerful  corporations  which  he  knew  had 
everything  at  stake  and  were  taking  every  chance.  He  had  invested 
every  cent  he  had  in  the  Valley  and  never  lost  faith  in  it  because  he  was 
a  cheery  optimist  by  nature  and  training  anyway.  But  he  lost  his  life 
in  an  accident  in  1907,  though  his  family  were  left  with  a  comfortable 
competence,  and  his  sons  resumed  the  work  where  their  father  left  off, 
and  they  have  a  fine  ranch  of  320  acres. 

The  hog-raising  industry  has  become  popular  throughout  the  Valley 
because  of  its  unfailing  returns  year  after  year.  But  owing  to  the  high 
price  of  pork  and  its  numerous  products,  and  the  haste  to  produce  them 
little  attention  was  at  first  given  to  careful  breeding  in  order  to  secure 
the  best  results.  But  that  is  a  thing  of  the  past.  Today  Imperial  Valley 
swine  are  among  the  best  in  the  country. 

Among  the  first  to  bring  in  thoroughbreds  was  Arthur  McCollum, 
who  had  a  ranch  near  Imperial.  He  had  been  a  postal  clerk  in  San  Jose 
after  twenty  years  on  a  farm,  where  his  health  failed.  He  preceded  his 
wife  in  this  Valley  by  some  three  weeks,  and  their  combined  capital  at 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY  57 

that  time  was  $2.15.  And  yet  he  managed  to  secure  a  bit  of  ranch  land, 
some  40  acres,  upon  which  he  raised  only  pedigreed  stock,  as  Ohio  Im- 
proved Chesters  and  Poland  Chinas,  and  all  under  the  most  perfect 
sanitary  conditions.  He  dealt  only  with  hog-breeders  and  not  with  pork 
men. 

Another  man  of  this  class  is  Mr.  J.  R.  Sturgis,  who  has  both  the 
means  and  the  ability  to  insure  success.  He  has  160  acres  not  far  from 
Holtville  which  are  mainly  devoted  to  alfalfa,  barley  and  wheat.  He 
experiments  with  thoroughbred  stock,  such  as  Poland  China  and  Berk- 
shire, and  he  is  making  a  careful  study  of  the  whole  problem  of  hog- 
raising.  He  has  found  that  this  stock  costs  about  one-third  less  feed 
and  care,  and  can  be  fattened  more  rapidly  than  the  common  stock.  He 
expects  to  ship  a  carload  of  this  stock  every  two  months.  He  also  con- 
tends that  the  quality  of  this  pork  is  always  superior,  the  animals  are 
smoother  in  appearance,  stronger  and  better  nourished.  He  came  into 
the  Valley  from  Ventura  County  in  1908. 

One  of  the  largest  breeders  in  the  Valley,  however,  is  Mr.  J.  M. 
Prim,  who  arrived  in  1905  from  an  Illinois  farm  after  considerable  ex- 
perience with  hogs  there.  He  leased  320  acres  of  land  in  the  rich  No.  5 
district,  four  miles  from  Holtville.  But  just  about  that  time  the  big  river 
came  into  the  Valley  too,  and  it  was  a  dark  outlook  for  Prim  for  some 
months  when  this  unwelcome  water  was  pouring  over  the  hopes  and 
plans  of  the  settlers.  But  by  1907,  when  the  river  break  had  been  closed, 
Prim  was  animated  with  fresh  courage,  and  he  even  leased  some  more 
property. 

But  the  next  year  there  was  a  decided  slump  in  the  pork  market, 
and  he  lost  some  $10,000  with  his  pigs.  But  he  kept  at  it,  and  in  1910 
the  buyers  were  fighting  each  other,  and  he  sold  three  carloads  for 
$5000.  Having  then  3200  hogs,  he  had  to  buy  80  more  acres  of  land. 
Upon  this  he  raised  barley  and  Filipino  wheat.  This  he  feeds  to  his 
stock  by  an  automatic  feeder,  with  no  waste  nor  any  dirt,  although  the 
device  is  costly  in  the  first  instance.  Mr.  Prim  is  a  systematic  man  with 
careful  methods,  though  in  some  respects  he  has  been  called  a  "plung- 
er." Among  his  many  improvements  on  that  ranch  is  a  large  reservoir 
from  which  he  can  irrigate  his  land  if  necessary. 

Mr.  A.  L.  Bliss,  a  man  of  reputed  wealth,  was  also  an  early  believer 
in  hogs  for  this  Valley.  He  came  from  Illinois,  where  he  had  served  as 


58  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

secretary,  president  and  superintendent  of  the  Swine  Breeders'  Asso- 
ciation, and  a  student  of  the  hog  industry  for  some  time.  On  one  occa- 
sion he  had  owned  a  Poland  China  boar  that  was  valued  at  $8000.  His 
advent  into  the  Valley  was  in  the  fall  of  1909.  He  then  had  an  idea  of 
buying  from  40  to  80  acres  for  certain  experiments  he  had  in  mind. 
But  he  finally  bought  640  acres  on  the  northern  limits  of  Holtville,  and 
afterwards  invested  in  320  more  near  El  Centre  For  once  it  seems  the 
advertisements  he  had  read  about  the  Valley  fell  short  of  the  truth.  The 
surprise  was  most  agreeable  and  really  prolonged  the  short  visit  he  had 
intended  to  a  permanent  stay.  When  a  young  man  he  taught  school, 
became  a  trustee  and  later  superintendent  of  the  schools  for  many 
years.  But  now  he  can  afford  to  go  back  on  the  farm  and  take  life  easy. 

SOME  OF  THE  PIONEER  BUILDERS 

While  the  farmer  and  the  tiller  of  the  soil  must  be  accorded  first  place 
in  the  development  and  progress  of  this  reclaimed  Valley,  there  are 
also  those  in  other  pursuits  who  have  had  very  important  shares  in  the 
work  of  organization  and  construction.  Some  of  these  men  deserve 
favorable  mention  in  this  record  of  achievement.  While  it  might  seem 
unjust  or  even  invidious  perhaps  to  single  out  any  one  man  and  pile  all 
the  honors  upon  him  for  what  has  been  done  in  this  line,  it  must  be  said 
by  those  familiar  with  the  situation  and  most  competent  to  express  an 
opinion  that  Mr.  H.  H.  Peterson  is  entitled  to  first  mention.  The  vari- 
ous towns  of  the  Valley  might  have  been  built  without  him  perhaps, 
but  they  certainly  were  not.  And  yet  he  was  only  a  maker  of  brick  and 
a  contractor  who  furnished  the  materials  and  did  most  of  the  work  of 
construction.  But  for  him  many  of  these  buildings  would  probably  have 
been  of  wooden  construction  and  far  less  substantial  either  in  appear- 
ance or  durability.  He  came  here  in  December,  1903,  and  for  three 
years  had  a  pretty  hard  time.  There  had  been  a  small  hand  brickyard 
near  Imperial  for  two  years,  operated  by  Harbour  &  Carter.  But  their 
output  was  very  small  and  inferior  in  quality.  The  demand  always  ex- 
ceeded the  supply,  however,  on  account  of  the  scarcity  of  labor  and 
the  attendant  expense  of  the  slow  methods  in  use.  When  Mr.  Peterson 
arrived  he  took  in  the  situation  at  a  glance  and  promptly  decided  that 
contracting  and  brick  making  should  be  his  vocation.  He  came  from 
Los  Angeles,  where  he  obtained  large  practical  experience  in  the  work 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


59 


he  was  now  about  to  undertake.  He  bought  out  Carter's  interest  in  the 
firm  and  joined  Mr.  Harbour  in  the  business.  They  molded  and  burned 
a  kiln  of  brick  at  Calexico,  where  they  began  to  erect  a  hotel.  And  they 
were  soon  swamped  with  orders.  But  they  found  it  easier  to  sell  their 
brick  than  to  make  them  with  their  crude  and  inadequate  appliances. 
Labor  was  scarce  and  the  work  was  hard  and  unattractive.  But  in  spite 
of  all  this  they  built  another  yard  at  Holtville,  this  time  on  a  larger 
scale.  And  yet  they  had  to  haul  all  the  water  from  the  Alamo  channel 
in  barrels  and  could  only  work  on  part  time  for  lack  of  men. 

He  also  erected  buildings  in  El  Centro,  Brawley,  Holtville,  Calexico 
and  Imperial,  and  for  these  he  made  the  brick  himself.  Among  the  most 
important  of  these  structures  was  the  High  School  building  in  Imperial. 
He  made  over  ten  million  brick,  and  the  value  of  his  buildings  is  said  to 
aggregate  $750,000.  From  the  autumn  of  1901  to  the  summer  of  1910 
his  contracts  amounted  to  $100,000  in  the  town  of  Imperial  alone.  But 
in  spite  of  his  prosperity  and  success  he  has  had  to  face  many  troubles, 
as  does  every  aggressive  man  who  does  things.  Skilled  labor  was  almost 
impossible  to  get  and  keep,  even  at  the  high  wages  he  paid.  Then,  too, 
nearly  all  his  materials  had  to  be  brought  either  from  Los  Angeles  or 
San  Francisco.  He  now  owns  about  560  acres  of  land  in  the  Valley,  in- 
cluding his  vast  deposits  of  sand  and  gravel  on  the  bank  of  New  River 
near  Imperial  which  is  required  for  his  brick-plant  operations. 

Mr.  J.  L.  Travers  is  also  widely  known  as  a  pioneer  contractor  in 
the  Valley.  He  was  really  the  first  man  on  the  ground.  The  town  of  El 
Centro  was  then  only  a  spot  in  the  desert.  But  when  the  townsite  was 
purchased  by  the  Redlands  Syndicate,  the  firm  of  Fairchilds  &  Travers 
were  prominent  contractors  and  builders  in  that  famous  citrus  region. 
Thus  it  was  that  Travers,  accompanied  by  a  trusty  foreman,  dropped 
off  the  train  in  this  desert  waste  in  November,  1906,  half  a  mile  north 
of  the  El  Centro  depot.  The  El  Centro  Hotel  was  Travers'  first  con- 
tract there,  and  everybody  regarded  the  project  as  a  joke.  But  the 
work  went  right  ahead.  He  was  next  asked  to  build  the  Holt  Opera 
House,  which  was  another  shock  to  the  settlers,  as  there  were  only 
about  ten  permanent  residents  there  at  the  time.  Water  had  to  be 
pumped  up  from  the  ditch,  and  this  ditch  was  a  pretty  important  ele- 
ment in  the  situation.  Long  before  these  two  big  contracts  were  com- 
pleted however,  Travers  was  overwhelmed  with  many  others,  and  he 


60  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

became  one  of  the  biggest  contractors  in  that  part  of  the  Valley.  Dur- 
ing four  years  there  his  contracts  amounted  to  more  than  a  million  dol- 
lars. Nearly  all  the  best  buildings  in  the  town  were  designed  and  con- 
structed by  him.  Extensive  ice  and  cold  storage  plants  in  the  various 
towns  were  his  work.  And  the  main  street  in  El  Centro  presents  all  the 
features  of  leading  thoroughfares  in  older  sections  of  the  country  to- 
day. Then,  when  another  flood  was  threatened  in  1906,  he  took  his  en- 
tire force  of  men  and  assisted  the  farmers  in  building  up  the  levees. 

Dr.  Elmer  E.  Patten,  who  came  in  1908,  was  the  first  health  officer 
and  county  physician.  He  was  also  a  man  of  much  public  spirit,  and 
keenly  alive  to  the  best  interests  of  the  people.  A  full  water  supply  and 
good  fire  protection  for  the  city  of  Imperial  were  secured  through  his 
efforts  in  1909 ;  also  a  public  sewer  system,  a  new  city  hall  and  a  Carne- 
gie library,  and  a  $55,000  high  school  were  all  built  under  his  regime. 

But  in  this  record  of  personal  achievement  the  business  world,  as 
represented  by  the  merchant  should  not  be  omitted.  Next  to  the  oldest 
mercantile  firm  in  Imperial  is  that  organized  by  George  Varney,  and 
known  as  Varney  Bros.  &  Co.,  who  came  in  1902.  Their  stock  was 
small  at  first,  though  ample  for  the  needs  of  that  time.  They  ran  the 
store  without  much  assistance,  but  sold  about  $100  worth  of  goods  a 
day  during  the  first  few  weeks.  The  first  carload  of  goods  that  came 
over  the  railway  was  consigned  to  them,  but  it  had  to  be  carted  four 
miles  from  the  line  owing  to  the  incomplete  condition  of  the  road.  In 
1910  Varney  Bros.  &  Co.  had  five  stores,  a  floor  space  of  28,000  feet, 
32  employees  and  stock  valued  at  $85,000.  Their  annual  sales  then  ex- 
ceeded $540,000.  Since  then  they  have  added  a  large  new  store  in  Calex- 
ico.  They  have  a  capital  stock  of  $200,000,  and  the  annual  sales  of  the 
chain  of  stores  runs  into  millions. 

One  of  the  first  engineers  in  this  region  was  Mr.  C.  N.  Perry,  a  tire- 
less and  most  effective  worker  and  a  most  faithful  leader  in  that  all  im- 
portant branch  of  reclamation. 

FINANCIAL 

As  has  been  already  learned  by  the  reader  of  this  volume,  the  finan- 
cial end  of  the  great  project  in  this  Valley  has  overshadowed  every 
other  feature  from  its  very  inception.  This  perhaps  is  the  history  of 
every  important  enterprise  the  world  over.  But  in  no  case  has  it  formed 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY  6l 

so  vital  a  factor  in  the  conduct  and  development  of  any  scheme  as  pre- 
sents itself  in  the  reclamation  of  this  desert.  And  perhaps  in  few  other 
instances  has  there  been  so  much  trouble  and  delay  in  procuring  the 
needed  money  to  prosecute  the  work  as  here.  And  it  may  also  be  said 
that  but  for  the  most  successful  diplomacy  on  the  part  of  energetic  men 
at  different  crucial  periods  of  the  work  the  entire  project  must  have 
been  a  failure.  Contributing  in  a  large  measure  to  this  situation  the  per- 
sistent antagonism  of  the  national  government,  from  whatever  cause  it 
may  have  arisen,  must  share  the  blame.  At  times  when  the  prospect  of 
success  seemed  brightest  this  spectre  of  opposition  cast  its  shadow  over 
the  scheme,  discouraging  the  operators  not  only,  but  the  heroic  and 
faithful  settlers  themselves,  who  began  to  doubt,  distrust  and  even 
despair  of  the  whole  project.  But  here  were  men  engaged  in  this  vast 
enterprise  who  were  fearless  and  undaunted,  ready  to  overcome  any  ob- 
stacle that  might  confront  them.  Their  unbounded  faith  in  the  plan  was 
not  merely  of  a  mercenary  character.  They  wanted  to  succeed  at  any 
cost  and  were  content  to  receive  their  laurels  when  the  triumph  was 
over.  Whether  or  not  they  ever  did  receive  their  full  measure  of  praise 
and  glory  is,  however,  a  question.  But  the  beneficent  results  of  their  la- 
bors live  after  them,  and  will  continue  to  live  through  future  ages  when 
their  names  have  been  forgotten. 

Among  the  local  bankers  now  is  President  F.  B.  Fuller,  of  the  El 
Centro  National  Bank,  who  came  into  the  Valley  from  Texas.  He  first 
bought  a  160-acre  ranch  near  El  Centro,  and  also  a  residence  site  upon 
which  he  afterward  built  the  first  permanent  residence  in  the  Valley. 
He  opened  his  bank  in  very  modest  quarters  in  1907.  Deposits  came  in 
rapidly,  and  the  wisdom  of  his  venture  was  apparent  at  once.  The  bank 
proved  a  great  convenience.  Two  years  later  he  began  the  erection  of 
his  new  building  on  the  site  previously  selected.  This  is  now  one  of  the 
most  attractive  structures  on  that  street. 

The  subject  of  land  titles  and  boundaries  soon  became  of  vital  im- 
portance. There  were  many  questions  as  to  the  validity  of  titles  which 
arose  in  different  sections,  and  there  seemed  to  be  no  recognized  author- 
ity in  the  matter.  This  annoying  condition  prevailed  for  six  or  seven 
years,  and  it  occasioned  much  delay  in  development.  People  did  not 
really  know  for  a  certainty  what  they  were  buying  or  where.  At  length, 
however,  what  became  known  as  the  Imperial  County  Abstract  Com- 


02  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

pany  was  organized  by  the  farmers.  But  this  was  soon  absorbed  by  the 
Peoples'  Abstract  and  Title  Company  of  Riverside  County.  The  bounds 
of  every  ranch  is  doubly  marked,  which  was  made  necessary  by  the 
flood  and  the  hasty  survey  of  the  government  in  1856,  when  nobody 
dreamed  of  any  reclamation  of  this  barren  Colorado  Desert.  The  set- 
tlers obtained  some  relief,  however,  in  this  respect  by  an  act  of  Con- 
gress in  1902  which  provided  in  substance  that  no  bona-fide  claim  of 
any  actual  occupant  should  be  impaired,  and  eventually  the  record  title 
should  conform  to  the  land  actually  occupied.  A  new  survey  was  then 
made  and  patents  were  issued  on  that  basis. 

Of  course  in  all  this  tangle  of  red  tape  the  legal  profession  saw  its 
opportunity,  and  were  not  slow  to  avail  themselves  of  it.  Many  of  these 
legal  problems  were  handled  in  the  office  of  the  first  district  attorney, 
the  late  John  M.  Eshleman,  afterward  lieutenant-governor,  and  this 
officer  being  engaged  elsewhere  a  portion  of  the  time,  this  duty  fell 
upon  Phil  S.  Swing,  his  efficient  deputy,  and  his  successor,  who  did 
most  effective  service  in  this  capacity.  There  being  no  precedents  to 
guide  him  among  the  unique  conditions  then  prevailing,  he  had  to  take 
the  initiative  in  many  cases.  He  came  into  the  Valley  in  October,  1907, 
and  has  held  many  positions  of  trust  since  then. 

Visitors  here  will  note  the  cosmopolitan  character  of  the  residents  in 
this  Valley,  and  this  has  been  an  important  factor  in  its  rapid  develop- 
ment. Many  nations  and  callings  are  represented,  including  men  from 
foreign  lands  who  were  skilled  in  horticulture,  arboriculture,  and  fruit 
growing.  Grape  growing  has  received  much  attention  and  the  conditions 
of  the  soil  and  climate  are  found  well  suited  to  vineyards.  France 
seems  to  have  contributed  materially  to  the  region  in  this  way. 

Mr.  A.  Caillard,  an  experienced  fruit  grower  in  semi-arid  sections, 
has  labored  most  successfully  in  grape  culture  here.  After  considerable 
study  he  finally  located  upon  an  86-acre  plot  not  far  from  Holtville, 
and  planted  grapes  in  an  experimental  way  on  a  part  of  his  ground,  re- 
serving some  of  the  land  for  barley  and  alfalfa,  thus  tiding  over  the 
season  until  his  vineyard  became  fully  productive,  adding  dairy  fea- 
tures in  the  interim.  But  he  soon  found  that  the  grape  was  fully  at  home 
here  and  even  more  productive  than  he  expected,  and  now  he  has  de- 
voted the  entire  plot  to  vineyard  purposes. 

Many  more  of  these  Valley  pioneers  who  began  business  here  at  an 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY  63 

early  period  of  its  development  might  well  be  mentioned  were  it  not 
for  the  fact  that  the  biographical  part  of  this  work  will  doubtless  in- 
clude detailed  accounts  of  their  life  and  work. 

Among  those  early  in  the  mercantile  line  was  W.  D.  Conser,  of  Im- 
perial, now  of  Colton,  who  came  from  Arizona  in  1903,  bringing  with 
him  a  stock  of  goods  worth  perhaps  $2500.  A  great  believer  in  the  use 
of  printing  ink  and  sound  business  principles  with  fair  and  honest 
dealing,  he  soon  built  up  a  large  trade  in  the  small  quarters  of  his  store. 

Regarding  the  most  successful  vocations  in  this  Valley  it  is  natural 
to  suppose  that  the  experienced  farmer  coming  from  the  East  would  be 
most  successful  here  as  a  farmer.  And  yet  such  has  not  been  the  rule. 
The  old  standard  methods  that  prevail  in  the  East  are  not  adapted  to 
secure  the  best  results  here  without  considerable  modification.  This  has 
been  somewhat  difficult  for  the  Eastern  farmer  to  understand.  Because 
of  this  he  has  often  failed  while  any  other  man  who  didn't  know  it  all, 
and  was  willing  to  listen  to  advice,  would  succeed.  In  some  cases,  how- 
ever, theorists  from  agricultural  colleges,  with  some  practical  training, 
have  been  quick  to  catch  on  in  these  Valley  methods  and  succeeded. 

It  is  a  pleasure  to  record  the  success  of  Mr.  E.  H.  Erickson  in  Braw- 
ley  in  fruit  growing.  Seeing  no  reason  why  all  kinds  of  fruit  should  not 
thrive  here,  he  planted  in  great  variety  with  abundant  faith.  And  al- 
ready his  orchards  prove  even  more  productive  than  he  had  hoped,  and 
they  are  visited  by  people  with  great  interest.  But  in  addition  to  being 
an  experienced  horticulturist  he  is  also  in  love  with  the  pursuit. 

Not  every  man  who  comes  here,  however,  finds  a  smooth  road  to  suc- 
cess in  any  calling.  There  are  notable  exceptions,  and  Mr.  C.  H.  Wal- 
ton is  one  of  these.  Coming  here  in  1901  as  a  skilled  farmer  and  hard 
worker,  things  seemed  to  go  wrong  with  him  from  the  first  and  he  had 
a  hard  row  to  hoe  for  nine  years.  For  a  time  he  worked  on  the  irri- 
gation ditches,  and  happened  to  select  a  poor  piece  of  land  in  an  un- 
favorable section.  Then  he  changed  his  ranch  and  leased  a  site  near  El 
Centro.  But  he  no  sooner  got  things  nicely  started  there  when  the  mad 
old  river  drenched  him  out,  and  he  was  forced  to  sell  out  to  save  him- 
self. But  his  courage  did  not  fail  him  even  then.  He  bought  more  land 
adjoining  his  first  ranch  and  resolved  to  begin  anew.  But  the  end  of  his 
troubles  was  not  yet.  Some  designing  men  sought  to  attack  his  title  to 
the  land  and  a  contest  was  filed.  But  despite  all  these  things  this  man's 


64  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

courage  proved  indomitable.  He  held  on  and  now  has  his  place  well 
stocked  with  hogs  and  many  horses. 

Among  the  practical  modern  stock-men  is  W.  L.  Manahan,  who  was 
a  regular  cow-puncher  early  in  life,  and  is  yet  for  that  matter,  riding 
with  his  men,  branding,  etc.  He  came  from  New  Mexico  in  1903.  His 
place  is  now  devoted  to  alfalfa  and  barley,  and  he  has  some  2000  hogs 
among  his  stock.  Being  experienced  not  only  in  breeding,  he  also  knew 
the  business  end  of  buying  and  selling. 

The  growth  of  cotton  is  on  the  increase  all  through  the  Valley  owing 
to  the  present  high  price  of  that  staple.  Mr.  R.  M.  Fuller  has  130  acres 
that  produce  large  yields  of  cotton.  This  ranch  is  three  miles  from  El 
Centro. 

Nels  Jacobson  is  among  the  very  successful  and  prosperous  stock- 
breeders in  the  Valley,  owning  a  fine  720-acre  ranch  in  the  Mesquite 
Lake  country.  Horses  and  hogs  are  his  specialties,  although  he  came 
here  from  a  14-acre  orange  grove  in  the  Highlands. 

Francis  Heiney  of  Brawley  is  one  of  the  most  skilled  and  practical 
fruit  men  in  the  Valley,  having  studied  the  matter  in  different  countries. 
His  ranch  contains  a  great  variety  of  choice  fruits  not  found  else- 
where, and  all  seem  to  thrive  well  under  his  careful  management.  He 
has  served  the  county  as  agricultural  commissioner  and  had  a  similar 
position  in  San  Diego  County.  Scientific  men  from  different  sections 
visit  the  scene  of  his  operations  with  peculiar  interest. 

The  ranch  of  D.  G.  Whiting,  near  El  Centro,  is  another  very  attrac- 
tive spot,  with  its  fine  trees  and  permanent  character  of  the  buildings. 
He  brought  here  the  first  fine  Jersey  herd  in  the  entire  Valley,  having 
spent  much  time  and  money  in  improving  the  strain.  His  dairy  interests 
were  also  large  and  important  under  the  improved  methods  introduced 
by  him.  He  later  turned  his  attention  more  particularly  to  other  lines. 

The  healthful  conditions  prevailing  in  the  Valley  have  already  been 
referred  to,  and  there  are  increasing  evidences  coming  in  frequently. 
Mr.  Edwin  Mead  found  it  salutary  and  also  regained  his  fortune  along 
with  his  health.  Coming  in  1901  without  any  capital  to  speak  of,  he  se- 
lected 320  acres  five  miles  from  Holtville  and  worked  for  the  water 
company  to  pay  for  it.  Some  200  hogs,  a  herd  of  beef  cattle  and  a  good 
stock  of  horses  and  poultry  are  now  feeding  upon  his  alfalfa  pasturage. 
In  the  early  days  of  Imperial,  Mrs.  Mead  was  a  very  popular  hostess  at 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY  '  65 

the  hotel,  and  she  became  known  far  and  wide  for  her  genial  hospital- 
ity. They  now  own  property  amounting  to  $50,000. 

A  model  ranch  owned  by  a  Los  Angeles  stock  syndicate  contains 
1 100  acres  of  highly  cultivated  ranch  land  and  some  876,000  acres 
across  the  Mexican  line.  More  stock  is  produced  there  than  on  any  other 
ranch  in  Southern  California.  This  Mexican  land  is  found  to  be  mar- 
velously  productive.  One  single  arid  field  of  barley  has  5000  acres,  and 
another  of  like  area  is  devoted  to  alfalfa.  Walter  Bowker  is  the  man- 
ager of  this  vast  tract. 

The  first  artesian  well  in  the  Valley  is  credited  to  Henry  Stroven. 
He  found  excellent  water  at  900  feet  near  Holtville  and  later,  at  a 
depth  of  800  feet,  where  the  flow  was  100  gallons  per  minute.  The  cost 
was  $1100,  and  considered  cheap  at  that  for  the  results  obtained.  Mr. 
Stroven  is  also  an  enthusiastic  fruit  man  and  has  very  productive  or- 
chards. 

Joseph  Hanson  is  a  prosperous  rancher  near  Imperial,  coming  here 
from  Alberta,  Canada,  in  19O2,  and  securing  about  320  acres  of  land, 
which  is  largely  devoted  to  forage  crops  for  hogs,  of  which  he  has 
about  500  head.  With  him  came  John  Larsen,  who  settled  upon  160 
acres  of  land,  upon  which  he  raised  barley  and  hay  and  was  content  to 
await  developments. 

GOOD  ROADS 

It  would  indeed  be  very  difficult  to  find  a  more  vital  factor  in  the  de- 
velopment and  progress  of  any  country  anywhere  on  the  face  of  the 
earth  than  good  roads.  And  yet  it  is  only  within  comparatively  recent 
years  that  this  great  republic  of  ours  gave  any  public  recognition  of 
this  fact.  We  could  talk  and  write  glibly  of  the  famous  ancient  Roman 
roads  that  were  built  in  the  most  permanent  and  enduring  manner, 
which  challenged  universal  admiration  the  world  over.  But  here  in  this 
new  country,  under  this  broader  and  more  modern  civilization,  we  were 
content  to  leave  our  public  highways  in  the  most  deplorable  condition, 
allowing  Dame  Nature  to  have  full  sway.  This,  of  course,  made  the 
roads  practically  impassable  at  certain  seasons  of  the  year  unless  the 
track  chanced  to  be  over  a  rocky  foundation  and  impervious  to  water. 
The  matter  of  any  systematic  road  improvement  was  utterly  ignored. 


66  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

and  such  temporary  repairs  as  were  made  at  odd  intervals  when  the 
farmers  had  nothing  else  to  do  were  hopelessly  ineffective  because  of 
the  faulty  methods  employed  and  the  slipshod  manner  in  which  they 
were  carried  out.  Even  when  the  matter  began  to  receive  some  little 
attention,  as  the  result  of  certain  laws  requiring  some  annual  repairs  on 
the  public  roads  in  certain  States,  the  system  used  in  complying  with 
these  provisions  was  of  the  most  defective  and  pernicious  character, 
often  doing  more  harm  than  good.  The  history  of  road  working  in  those 
days  would  now  seem  almost  incredible  and  incomprehensive  in  the 
light  of  the  present  absorbing  interest  that  is  now  shown  in  the  con- 
struction and  repair  of  all  public  highways  throughout  the  country. 

All  this  must  be  credited,  first  to  the  advent  of  the  bicycle,  and  next 
to  the  auto  cars.  If  these  various  inventions  and  devices  had  done 
nothing  else  for  the  people  their  value  would  have  been  inestimable. 
Here  in  this  state  of  California  and  throughout  the  West,  perhaps, 
modern  road  improvement  began  in  advance  of  many  of  the  older 
states  in  the  East,  that  were  slow  to  realize  the  importance  of  the  mat- 
ter as  affecting  every  economic  interest  which  could  be  named,  being 
loath  to  incur  the  needed  expense.  Here  in  this  reclaimed  valley  some 
attention  has  been  given  to  the  public  roads.  And  yet  it  is  entirely  safe 
to  say,  though  without  definite  information  on  the  subject  however, 
that  there  is  still  much  need  of  more  permanent  road  construction  and 
more  effective  repairs  all  through  the  Valley.  The  natural  conditions 
in  most  sections  of  this  new  county  are  such  that  the  maintenance  of 
roads,  if  properly  constructed,  should  be  easy  and  comparatively  inex- 
pensive, there  being  very  slight  rainfall  and  no  frost.  And  yet  it  is 
a  question  whether  it  is  not  wise  to  build  more  permanently  than  trust 
to  the  ordinary  dirt  roadway,  where  the  traffic  is  at  all  heavy.  Some 
variety  of  concrete  or  bituminous  materials  seems  in  every  way  desir- 
able in  such  cases.  And  yet  it  is  claimed  here  that  eighty  per  cent  of 
the  taxable  property  of  this  new  county  is  owned  by  non-residents,  who 
really  pay  inadequate  taxes,  which  leaves  an  unjust  share  of  this  cost 
of  road  improvement  upon  resident  owners  and  tenants.  But  there  must 
be  some  way  to  remedy  this  evil,  and  the  county  officials  will  doubtless 
find  it.  In  any  event  there  should  be  nothing  in  the  way  of  better  roads 
in  this  favored  land,  where  the  control  of  water  is  so  completely  in  the 
hands  of  the  people.  For,  after  all,  the  vital  point  in  all  road  repairs  is 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY  67 

to  keep  off  the  water.  Having  good  drainage  and  a  hard  surface,  the 
battle  is  won. 

The  completion  of  the  new  State  concrete  highway  from  El  Centro 
to  the  mountain  range  which  fringes  the  western  edge  of  the  Valley, 
last  summer,  was  a  most  desirable  improvement.  This  is  a  sixteen-foot 
pavement  thirty-eight  miles  long,  and  includes  a  single  span  reinforced 
concrete  bridge  across  Meyer's  Canon  that  cost  $40,000.  In  order  to 
complete  this  main  roadway  system  it  is  now  proposed  to  extend  it  from 
Niland  to  Calexico,  and  from  El  Centro  to  Holtville.  For  this  purpose 
a  bond  issue  of  $225,000  is  asked  for.  The  Imperial  County  Supervisors 
have  promised  to  raise  $161,000  as  their  share  of  the  expense  in  con- 
necting the  Valley  with  Los  Angeles  by  a  paved  highway,  south  of  the 
Salton  Sea,  from  Brawley  to  Coachella  Valley  and  Banning.  This  will 
be  a  valuable  link  in  the  road  system  of  Southern  California,  and  afford 
easy  access  to  the  great  market  place  of  Los  Angeles.  It  will  thus  appear 
that  the  new  county  proposes  to  keep  abreast  of  the  times  in  the  work 
of  road  improvement. 

COTTON   PRODUCTION 

It  is  pleasant  to  record  the  rapid  increase  of  the  white-blossoming  acre- 
age of  cotton  during  the  last  few  years.  Grown  at  first  in  an  experi- 
mental way,  it  has  now  become  one  of  the  leading  crops  in  the  Valley. 
Statistics  show  that  there  were  some  138,000  acres  devoted  to  this  im- 
portant staple  last  year.  The  yield  is  placed  at  7000  bales  of  cotton  and 
42,000  tons  of  cotton  seed,  exclusive  of  production  in  Mexico.  This 
brought  an  average  of  thirty  cents  a  pound  for  the  cotton  in  the  mar- 
kets and  $55  per  ton  for  the  seed.  Thus  the  local  growers  in  this  largest 
irrigated  area  in  the  West  received  nearly  $11,000,000  for  their  cotton 
crop  alone  last  year.  These  enthusiastic  cottonmen  now  propose  to 
devote  150,000  acres  to  the  growth  of  this  great  crop  the  coming  year, 
and  incidentally  making  this  Valley  the  greatest  cotton-producing  re- 
gion in  the  world.  This  surely  is  a  proud  record  for  an  industry  that 
began  here  only  about  nine  years  ago. 

In  its  report  of  cotton  production  last  year  the  government  Depart- 
ment of  Agriculture  gave  the  palm  to  Imperial  Valley  as  leading  all 
other  sections  in  the  average  yield  per  acre,  it  being  somewhat  over  400 
pounds.  This  was  due  in  part  to  the  absence  of  all  cotton  insect  pests, 


68  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

the  irrigation  system,  continuous  sunlight  and  deep,  fertile  soil.  Nearly 
one-half  of  this  Valley  crop  is  now  grown  in  Lower  California,  there 
being  some  65,000  acres  in  cotton  in  that  region.  Not  a  single  specimen 
of  either  the  boll-weevil  or  pink  boll-worm,  which  causes  so  much  dam- 
age and  loss  in  other  cotton-growing  sections,  has  yet  been  found  in 
this  Valley,  where  every  precaution  is  being  taken  to  prevent  their 
entrance. 

The  superior  quality  of  this  Imperial  cotton  has  attracted  the  atten- 
tion of  experts  all  over  the  country  because  of  its  fine  fiber  and  clean- 
liness. Three  varieties  are  grown  here — the  short  staple,  the  Durango 
medium  long  staple  and  the  Egyptian  cotton.  The  latter,  known  as  the 
Pima  Egyptian,  is  being  tried  during  the  present  year  upon  5000  acres 
of  land,  with  good  results,  the  fiber  selling  for  seventy-two  cents  per 
pound  last  fall.  Several  special  gins  for  this  fine  fiber  are  being  erected 
at  Imperial,  Seeley  and  elsewhere ;  and  the  farmers  expect  a  return 
from  this  variety  of  $150  an  acre  or  more.  The  total  cost  of  production 
is  estimated  at  $100  per  acre,  the  average  yield  being  about  one  bale  of 
500  pounds,  which  is  worth,  at  present  prices,  about  $360  and  the  seed 
about  $40.  The  cost  of  producing  a  bale  of  the  short  staple  cotton  being 
about  $55,  leaves  a  net  return  of  $75  under  favorable  conditions.  It  is, 
therefore,  apparent  that  the  cotton  mill  will  soon  be  one  of  the  leading 
features  in  the  Valley.  There  are  three  cottonseed-oil  mills  in  operation 
in  the  Valley,  where  the  seed  is  crushed  and  the  oil  extracted. 

The  "upland"  cotton,  grown  so  universally  in  the  south  Atlantic 
states,  covers  a  large  portion  of  this  Valley  acreage,  and  it  has  a  longer 
fiber  as  grown  here,  bringing  about  twenty-four  cents  for  the  short 
staple. 

There  are  now  in  this  Valley  22  cotton  gins,  three  oil  mills  and  two 
compressors,  representing  an  investment  of  over  one  million  dollars. 
Calexico,  the  border  city  of  the  Valley,  is  the  great  cotton  center, 
which  really  contains  the  whole  story  of  the  growth  and  prosperity  of 
that  city.  It  now  has  nine  gins  and  two  oil  mills,  and  with  its  half- 
million  acres  of  irrigable  land  close  at  hand  in  Mexico,  it  seems  des- 
tined to  rapid  and  marvelous  expansion.  Even  now  some  enthusiastic 
cottonmen  in  this  great  cotton  center  are  predicting  that  the  crop  of 
1918  on  the  Mexican  lands  in  this  Valley  will  approximate  sixty  thou- 
sand bales. 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY  69 


This  subject  may  not  be  worth  an  entire  chapter,  perhaps,  but  it  will 
not  be  inappropriate  to  group  other  crops  of  a  kindred  nature  with 
this  record. 

It  has  often  been  said  that  California's  prosperity  began  with  the 
"gold  craze"  of  1849,  which  is  probably  true  in  a  general  sense.  But 
there  was  another  important  event  in  her  early  history  that  came  a  few 
years  later  without  any  blare  of  trumpets  whatever,  creating  no  stam- 
pedes or  rushes,  built  no  mushroom  cities,  nor  made  men  rich  in  a 
single  night.  This  was  the  introduction  of  the  alfalfa  plant  into  the 
State,  which  has  made  thousands  of  men  rich,  whole  counties  prosper- 
ous, and  converted  barren  land  into  fertile  acres,  which  are  better  and 
more  enduring  than  gold  mines.  From  its  modest  advent  into  the  vast 
list  of  forage  crops  in  the  early  fifties  it  has  been  steadily  growing  in 
favor  until  today,  when  it  must  be  credited  first  place  among  them  all. 
It  is  estimated  that  there  are  now  some  750,000  acres  devoted  to  alfalfa 
in  the  State  of  California  alone.  It  has  thus  changed  the  map  of  that 
state  not  only,  but  also  of  other  states  and  territories.  Broad  vistas  of 
purplish  green  fields  are  everywhere  seen  waving  amid  cloudlet  shad- 
ows in  the  sunlit  breeze.  Brown  and  worn-out  fields  of  wheat  and 
barley  have  been  converted  into  these  more  productive  acres,  and  thou- 
sands of  men  with  modern  machinery  are  busily  engaged  in  gathering 
the  crop  several  times  each  season.  It  has  even  been  estimated  that  this 
alfalfa  crop  is  valued  as  one-and-half  times  greater  than  the  entire  out- 
put of  gold  in  California.  The  cured  hay  is  shipped  in  bales  all  over 
the  world,  and  it  goes  through  the  canal  to  the  eastern  states.  Before 
the  present  war  it  was  ground  into  meal  and  sent  to  every  spot  where 
there  was  a  cow  or  horse  to  be  fed.  Our  allies  in  foreign  lands  are  now 
feeding  their  cavalry  horses  on  a  secret  ration  composed  of  alfalfa- 
meal  bricks  ground  with  other  nutritious  ingredients.  Dairymen  find 
that  it  makes  rich  milk,  fine  cream  and  butter,  which  in  this  era  of 
high  prices  turns  into  a  fortune  with  proper  management.  It  is  fed 
green  to  dairy  cattle,  or  the  stock  is  turned  loose  into  the  waving  fields 
to  browse  at  will.  The  plant  seems  to  adapt  itself  to  most  any  climate 
with  mosture  and  deep  soil,  though  not  so  well  in  a  wet,  clay  soil.  Irri- 
gation is  not  absolutely  necessary,  as  it  is  grown  successfully  in  this 


jo  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

and  other  states  in  the  east  without  it.  The  Turkestan  species,  especial- 
ly, is  found  to  resist  seasons  of  drouth.  The  plant  grew  in  northern 
Africa  and  Asia  Minor  centuries  ago.  And  even  in  the  frozen  soil  of 
Russia  its  hardy  roots  penetrate  to  a  considerable  depth. 

There  are  now  many  varieties  of  this  alfalfa  plant,  of  which  a  western 
experiment  station  is  trying  a  list  of  ioo.  As  to  its  precise  origin  and 
the  date  little  seems  to  be  definitely  known.  It  is  believed  to  be  the 
deepest-rooted  plant  in  the  vegetable  kingdom,  which  accounts  for  its 
extreme  hardiness  and  great  vigor.  These  roots  often  extend  many  feet 
below  the  surface  of  the  soil,  thus  bringing  up  valuable  plant  food,  and 
hence  it  is  that  from  four  to  six  crops  are  gathered  in  a  single  season. 

A  peculiar  feature  of  this  plant  is  that  attached  to  its  roots  are  vast 
masses  of  nodules,  formed  by  the  working  of  a  certain  friendly  nitro- 
gen-producing microbe,  without  which  it  cannot  grow,  as  the  plant 
will  not  thrive  in  a  virgin  field.  Either  the  seed  or  the  soil  must  be  in- 
oculated. Despite  its  vigor  of  growth,  however,  it  must  be  handled  with 
more  care  than  the  coarser  forage  plants  or  much  of  its  food  value  is 
lost.  In  curing  for  hay  it  must  be  cut  at  the  right  time  and  handled 
very  little  in  order  to  secure  bright  green  hay. 

The  Soudan  grass  is  a  new  forage  plant  which  is  found  well  adapted 
for  silage  purposes,  that  was  introduced  last  year.  It  is  a  native  of 
Africa  and  yields  from  ten  to  fifteen  tons  per  acre,  being  an  annual 
plant  which  can  be  cut  from  three  to  four  times  each  season.  It  is 
usually  planted  late  in  August  upon  old  barley  land  or  after  the  canta- 
loupe crop  has  been  gathered.  The  yield  is  similar  to  that  of  alfalfa, 
producing  a  vast  amount  of  forage  in  a  short  time  where  another  crop 
must  be  seeded  the  same  year. 

Milo  maize  is  among  the  chief  grain  crops  in  the  Valley,  and  it 
showed  an  increased  yield  per  acre  last  year.  It  is  fed  to  hogs,  cattle, 
sheep  and  poultry,  and  the  price  for  this  grain  was  much  greater  last 
year  than  ever  before.  In  response  to  the  call  of  the  nation  for  greater 
production,  the  irrigation  area  of  Imperial  County  in  1917  produced 
fodder,  fiber  and  foodstuffs  to  the  value  of  $32,000,000,  which  entitles 
it  to  second  place  among  the  counties  of  the  United  States  in  agricul- 
tural endeavor.  More  than  45,000  acres  of  new  land  were  prepared 
and  seeded  last  year,  increasing  the  irrigated  acreage  on  both  sides  of 
the  line  to  408,000.  Of  this  some  80,000  acres  are  devoted  to  milo  maize 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


/I 


and  60,000  to  barley.  Most  of  these  products  are  used  at  home,  the 
farmers  being  convinced  that  a  pound  of  forage  put  into  cattle  on  the 
ranch  is  worth  almost  as  much  as  two  pounds  shipped  away.  The  acre- 
age of  wheat  will  be  materially  increased  this  year  by  the  planting  of 
5000  acres,  as  it  has  been  found  that  wheat  will  bear  as  well  as  barley 
and  bring  better  prices  in  the  market,  especially  under  the  present  war 
conditions  and  the  great  scarcity  of  this  valuable  grain  for  human 
consumption. 

The  increase  of  silos  of  late  throughout  this  region,  which  are  now 
said  to  number  over  forty,  has  led  to  a  much  larger  production  of  for- 
age crops  adapted  to  this  purpose,  such  as  sweet  sorghum,  which  often 
yields  38  tons  of  silage  per  acre.  This  silage  is  a  desirable  feed  in  the 
production  of  all  dairy  products. 

FRUITS  ADAPTED  TO  THE  VALLEY 

Sixteen  years  of  experimentation  by  individuals  have  taught  many 
lessons,  positive  and  negative,  regarding  horticultural  possibilities.  E. 
F.  Howe,  who  has  been  writing  of  the  Valley  from  its  beginning  long 
ago,  said  that  the  Mediterranean  Sea  lies  between  the  Valley  and  the 
coastal  plain.  This  is  Egypt  and  that  is  Italy,  he  declared,  and  develop- 
ments seem  to  have  justified  his  prediction.  The  orange  and  lemon 
trees  do  not  thrive  and  do  not  produce  satisfactorily.  The  grapefruit 
trees  do  a  little  better,  but  are  short-lived,  though  their  product  is 
superb.  This  is  the  only  citrus  fruit  that  thrives. 

In  the  adeciduous  class  of  fruits  the  olive  has  made  a  splendid  show- 
ing, though  plantings  are  light. 

In  deciduous  fruits  figs  and  pears  have  shown  ability  to  resist  cli- 
matic and  soil  conditions  and  to  bear  finely.  The  apricot  is  a  good  pro- 
ducer of  very  early  fruit,  but  the  trees  are  sensitive  to  the  effects  of 
irrigation  and  must  be  guardedly  handled,  many  trees  being  lost. 

Vinous  fruits,  including  Persian  and  Spanish  varieties  of  grapes, 
produce  largely  and  in  some  seasons  bring  big  returns  for  table  use. 
The  climate  is  not  adapted  to  raisin-making.  Varieties  of  strawberries 
lately  introduced  have  become  big  producers  and  money-makers. 

Berries  have  not  thus  far  made  a  good  record. 

It  probably  is  in  the  palmaceous  fruits  that  the  big  future  lies,  es- 
pecially with  the  date.  Importations  from  Arabia  and  Morocco  of  the 


72 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


choicest  varieties  have  started  the  industry,  but  the  great  war  has 
delayed  further  importations,  and  propagation  proceeds  slowly.  It  will 
probably  be  a  number  of  years  before  the  production  is  standardized, 
but  in  the  end  will  come  an  industry  of  giant  proportions. 

The  cantaloupe  melon  is  probably  one  of  the  most  profitable  crops 
grown  in  the  Valley,  and  the  acreage  is  being  rapidly  increased.  There 
are  now  over  8000  acres  producing  these  luscious  melons  every  year, 
which  exceeds  the  Georgia  product  by  over  2000  acres.  The  fruit  ripens 
earlier  here  than  in  any  other  region  of  the  United  States,  and  the  qual- 
ity is  superior.  There  were  12,800  acres  devoted  to  this  melon  in  the 
Valley  last  year,  and  the  crop  went  to  every  corner  of  the  country. 
Under  the  California  State  law  none  but  those  of  the  best  quality  could 
be  sent  out ;  nothing  of  an  inferior  character  could  be  shipped.  On  a 
single  day  in  June  there  were  six  trainloads  of  these  melons  that  left 
Brawley,  the  great  cantaloupe  center  of  the  county.  Ninety  million 
melons  was  the  estimated  product  of  the  Valley  last  year.  In  the  culture 
of  this  fruit  systematic  and  careful  selection  of  seed  is  the  first  requi- 
site. From  the  famous  "Rocky  Ford"  strain  a  new  variety  has  been 
developed  that  is  regarded  of  superior  quality  not  only  but  of  greater 
vigor  and  productiveness,  being  also  less  liable  to  fungus  attacks.  It 
also  has  better  carrying  qualities.  Some  of  these  melon  experts  here 
claim  that  a  cantaloupe  should  be  picked  just  before  it  is  entirely  ripe, 
not  only  to  secure  its  arrival  in  the  distant  market  in  the  best  condi- 
tion, but  also  to  insure  its  perfect  flavor.  They  say  that  many  are  picked 
too  green,  however,  in  order  to  reach  the  early  market  ahead  of  other 
sections,  which  practice  is  bitterly  denounced  by  the  best  growers,  who 
are  jealous  of  their  reputation,  and  has  resulted  in  much  damage  to 
the  industry,  because  one  such  carload  often  ruins  the  entire  shipment. 
And  yet  the  fact  is  that  the  melon  output  of  this  Valley  is  among  its 
most  important  annual  assets.  The  season  of  ripening  begins  late  in  May 
and  extends  until  the  middle  of  July. 

DAIRY  AND  POULTRY  INDUSTRIES 

Among  the  important  and  profitable  interests  in  the  Valley  today  is 
that  of  the  dairy.  This  is  closely  allied  with  the  vast  forage  production 
for  which  it  has  become  famous  in  past  years.  Two  years  ago  a  former 
chief  of  the  dairy  division  of  the  United  States  Department  of  Agri- 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY  73 

culture  predicted  that  the  State  of  California  was  destined  to  become 
the  greatest  dairy  state  in  the  Union  because  of  the  low  cost  of  butter- 
fat  production.  And  he  asserted  further  that  the  Imperial  Valley  pre- 
sented the  greatest  possibility  of  profit  of  any  section  of  the  state, 
having  every  opportunity  to  excel  as  a  money-maker  in  this  business. 
Even  at  this  time,  of  the  58  counties  this  Imperial  County  supplies  half 
of  the  butter  consumed  in  Los  Angeles,  and  produces  one-tenth  of  the 
total  butter  product  of  the  state.  And  yet  the  record  would  seem  to 
show  that  this  has  been  done  with  low-bred  cows  and  a  low  grade  of 
efficiency,  due  to  improper  methods,  both  of  which  could  easily  have 
been  remedied,  and  have  been  since  to  some  extent.  Farmers  have 
learned  that  improved  methods  and  more  sanitary  care  brings  better 
prices  and  larger  profits.  To  this  end  they  have  been  weeding  out  their 
herds,  excluding  the  "boarders"  and  retaining  the  best  milk  producers. 
They  are  also  securing  some  thoroughbred  stock  and  selecting  cows 
having  the  best  butter  records.  Careful  tests  are  being  made  of  the 
individual  members  of  the  herd  regarding  their  producing  capacity  and 
general  efficiency.  Greater  attention  is  also  being  given  to  cleanliness 
in  all  the  various  operations  of  milking  and  handling  the  cream  and 
butter,  realizing  that  such  sanitary  conditions  are  absolutely  necessary 
to  the  production  of  good  butter  from  the  time  the  milk  leaves  the  cow 
until  the  golden  product  is  packed  for  market.  No  department  of  farm 
work  requires  quite  so  much  care  to  every  detail  as  the  dairy.  And  no 
other  offers  so  much  chance  for  careless  and  unclean  methods.  Cream 
and  dirt  make  a  filthy  combination  of  the  good  and  bad  that  is  intol- 
erable, not  to  speak  of  the  danger  which  may  lurk  in  bacteria.  The 
creamery  man  cannot  entirely  eliminate  the  contaminating  ingredients 
which  may  have  found  their  way  into  the  cream.  Clean  utensils  is  an- 
other all-important  item. 

State  Inspector  Nye,  who  visited  this  region,  gave  some  very  good 
advice  along  these  lines  which  have  been  heeded  to  some  extent.  Be- 
sides emphasizing  all  these  sanitary  features,  he  says  cream  that  is 
quickly  cooled  keeps  sweet  much  longer  than  when  the  process  is  grad- 
ual. The  cream  should  be  kept  at  a  low  temperature  until  ready  for  the 
separator.  This,  of  course,  is  a  matter  that  requires  careful  manage- 
ment in  this  climate,  where  it  is  necessary  to  use  ice.  Clean  cream,  cold 
cream  and  rich  cream  are  the  important  factors.  With  proper  attention 


74 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


to  all  these  details  it  is  claimed  that  butter-fat  can  be  produced  cheaper 
in  this  Valley  than  anywhere  else.  There  is  little  need  of  barns  in  this 
rainless  region,  unless  it  be  for  shelter  from  the  sun  at  times.  And  the 
season  lasts  for  twelve  months,  with  an  ample  supply  of  green  fodder 
continually,  which  usually  consists  of  barley  and  alfalfa  mixed.  Of 
late,  however,  this  ration  has  been  varied  with  silage  in  some  instances 
on  the  theory  that  a  contented  cow  will  eat  more  and  give  better  and 
richer  milk.  Some  claim  that  with  proper  management  it  is  possible  in 
this  Valley  to  keep  two  cows  per  acre,  especially  if  silage  is  used.  Un- 
der ordinary  conditions,  even  without  silage,  they  are  not  keeping  one 
cow  per  acre.  One  progressive  farmer  near  El  Centro  is  keeping  35 
cows  on  20  acres  without  silage. 

In  1916  some  8,000,000  pounds  of  butter  were  shipped  from  this 
Valley,  which  brought  $2,500,000  in  the  markets.  The  average  yearly 
product  here  has  been  estimated  at  over  seven  million  pounds.  This 
daiiy  industry  is  conducted  largely  by  men  who  came  into  this  Valley 
with  very  limited  capital.  A  man  with  $300  in  cash,  who  can  pay  a 
month's  rent  on  40  acres  of  land,  usually  makes  a  handsome  surplus  in 
a  short  time.  It  is  said  that  the  average  Valley  cow  will  produce  four- 
fifths  of  a  pound  of  butter  every  day,  which  at  present  prices  nets 
forty-one  cents,  or  $12.30  a  month.  This  she  will  do  for  nine  months  in 
the  year,  making  her  value  for  butter  alone  $110.70.  Then  the  skimmed 
milk  is  worth  $36  per  year,  and  the  calf  ought  to  bring  about  $25.  This 
brings  the  cow's  total  yearly  product  to  $181.70. 

CHICKENS 

In  this  epoch  of  disturbed  civilization  and  national  conflicts,  when 
the  food  supply  of  the  world  for  man  and  beast  has  become  scanty  and 
apparently  inadequate,  as  we  have  been  led  to  believe,  the  domestic  hen 
becomes  a  vital  factor  to  some  degree  in  the  economic  branch  of  human 
existence.  This  docile  and  industrious  mistress  of  the  barnyard  has 
suddenly  been  elevated  to  a  degree  of  aristocratic  importance  unknown 
to  her  before.  And  yet  these  facts  do  not  seem  to  appeal  to  her  animal 
instincts  to  any  perceptible  degree.  Her  henship  seems  to  pursue  the 
even  tenor  of  her  quiet  life  in  the  usual  manner,  as  though  saying:  "I 
am  attending  to  my  accustomed  duties  at  the  nest  in  the  usual  way; 
what  more  do  you  want?"  Meanwhile  the  products  of  this  creature  are 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY  75 

soaring  in  price  with  the  speed  of  an  aviator,  and  the  people  are  calmly 
doing  without  omelettes,  broiled  chicken  and  other  delicacies  originat- 
ing in  the  poultry  yard. 

And  yet  this  Imperial  Valley  is  doing  its  share  to  alleviate  matters 
in  the  emergency,  in  spite  of  the  high  price  of  feed  required  in  the  hen 
family.  The  poultry  industry  has  grown  materially  here  the  last  few 
years  as  the  profits  have  become  greater.  It  is,  in  fact,  one  of  the  quick- 
est and  surest  means  by  which  a  man  of  small  capital  can  earn  a  good 
living.  The  mild  climate,  without  frost  or  snow,  favors  at  least  two 
broods  of  chicks  each  year.  The  abundance  of  succulent  green  fodder 
every  day  in  the  year,  and  the  fine  local  market  for  eggs  and  young 
poultry,  all  these  strongly  favor  the  business  in  this  region.  With  the 
improved  methods  now  in  use  the  careful  breeder  now  figures  upon  a 
net  profit  of  over  one  dollar  per  hen  each  year.  During  the  past  fifteen 
years  various  plans  have  been  tried  in  the  housing  and  management  of 
the  yards,  and  the  size  of  separate  pens,  with  the  result  that  now,  in 
most  cases,  open  sheds  built  perfectly  tight  at  sides  and  rear,  with 
partitions  every  ten  feet,  having  an  open  wire  netting  front,  with  roosts 
against  the  rear  wall,  is  the  most  approved  plan.  The  floors  are  either 
of  wood,  cement  or  dirt.  The  average  cost  of  housing  500  hens  is  found 
to  be  from  $250  to  $375. 

While  fanciers  and  owners  keep  a  variety  of  breeds,  the  White  Leg- 
horn strain  is  used  almost  universally  for  the  best  business  results. 
And  yet  few  of  these  are  pure-bred  stock,  the  effort  having  been  to 
increase  the  size  of  both  bird  and  egg.  The  hatching  of  eggs  is  mostly 
done  by  large  plants  devoted  to  that  branch  of  the  business,  having 
capacities  from  70,000  to  120,000  eggs  at  a  setting.  When  a  day  old 
the  chicks  are  delivered  to  the  brooder.  The  male  birds  are  sorted  out 
and  fattened  for  market.  The  feed  "mash"  contains  many  ingredients 
ground  together.  In  the  summer  and  fall  alfalfa  and  Soudan  grass  are 
also  used.  The  theory  is  that  a  hen  well  supplied  with  nitrogenous  food 
should  lay  eggs.  In  some  of  the  hen-houses  a  powerful  nitrogenous 
lamp  is  placed  at  every  roost,  with  an  alarm  clock  attachment,  which  is 
set  to  switch  on  the  light  at  3  a.  m.  Then  her  henship  is  expected  to  get 
busy,  eat  her  breakfast  and  jump  on  the  nest.  While  this  may  seem 
theoretical  and  imaginary  to  many,  it  is  claimed  here  that  the  gain  in 
egg  production  from  a  goodly  flock  of  hens  at  the  winter  season,  when 


76  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

eggs  are  high,  is  about  twenty  per  cent  under  this  early  light  scheme. 
In  this  way  one  thousand  well-bred  hens,  carefully  managed  and  prop- 
erly fed,  is  said  to  insure  the  owner  a  return  of  at  least  $3000  a  year. 
The  Valley  has  also  acquired  a  reputation  for  fine  turkeys,  which 
have  become  famous  throughout  the  West.  The  absence  of  cold  rains 
and  wet  weather,  among  the  greatest  evils  in  turkey-raising,  greatly 
favors  the  business.  And  it  is  now  claimed  that  some  40,000  turkeys  are 
shipped  out  of  the  Valley  every  year. 

THE  WOMEN  OF  THE  VALLEY 

While  something  has  already  been  said,  in  an  earlier  chapter  of  this 
work,  concerning  the  pioneer  women  of  this  reclaimed  desert,  there  is 
very  much  more  that  might  and  should  be  said,  even  in  this  general 
article. 

They  were  not  what  the  world  calls  "society  women"  who  came  here 
with  their  husbands,  or  somebody  else's  husband,  or  sweetheart,  in 
quest  of  new  fields  for  display  or  adventure.  Nor  did  they  include 
maidens,  young  or  old,  or  even  attractive  widows  in  search  of  new 
conquests  in  the  field  of  matrimony.  No,  there's  no  record  of  any  of 
these  classes  having  ventured  into  this  desolation  during  its  early  de- 
velopment. And  if  they  came  in  later  their  arrival  caused  no  ripple  that 
was  not  engulfed  in  the  more  substantial  social  affairs  that  have  been 
created  and  fostered  by  other  women  of  a  different  class.  Most  of  these 
are  country  born  and  bred,  with  an  ancestry  of  sturdy  farmers  of  which 
they  have  been  proud  to  boast.  They  were  strangers  to  "pink  teas, 
tangoes  and  bridge  parties" ;  simply  plain  women  with  big,  noble  souls, 
ready  for  any  honorable  and  worthy  task  that  was  set  before  them. 
They  came  to  this  undeveloped  Valley  with  the  full  purpose  of  doing 
their  share  in  its  reclamation  and  conversion  into  a  region  of  prosper- 
ous farmers  and  happy  homes.  And  they  knew  what  was  involved  in 
that  bold  proposition.  But  they  were  women  of  undaunted  courage  and 
persistence.  This  was  due  not  alone  to  their  nature  but  also  to  their 
country  breeding  and  training  on  the  farm,  the  best  place  in  the  world 
for  any  woman  to  be  born  and  reared.  And  yet  after  a  time  they  real- 
ized that  some  form  of  social  life  even  there  was  in  every  way  desir- 
able. The  ascetic  life  is  unreal  and  unsatisfying  to  the  average  human 
being.  There  must  be  contact  or  association  with  others  to  bring  out 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


77 


the  best  there  is  in  any  individual.  Nor  is  it  necessary  to  flock  to  the 
cities  and  villages  in  order  to  secure  these  opportunities,  despite  the 
erroneous  impression  to  that  effect  which  prevails.  There  is  ample 
chance  for  these  advantages  in  rural  sections  like  this  great  Valley  if 
the  women  themselves  are  so  inclined.  And  this  has  been  the  history  of 
this  region  from  the  beginning  of  its  settlement.  There  has  been  a  spirit 
of  symapthetic  hospitality  among  these  noble  women,  and  a  unity  of 
purpose  that  has  animated  so-called  society  circles.  City  friends  visit 
here  with  real  enjoyment  and  pleasure. 

Numerous  social  clubs  and  associations  of  various  kinds  have  been 
organized  in  different  parts  of  the  Valley,  and  their  meetings  have  often 
been  held  in  the  school  and  church  buildings.  But  there  is  no  purpose 
here  to  speak  in  detail,  nor  even  to  mention  the  names  of  the  leading 
women  promoters  of  these  organizations.  The  mere  fact  of  their  exist- 
ence shows  that  the  uncouth  features  so  often  attributed  to  the  life  of 
rural  communities  do  not  exist  here.  The  salutary  influence  of  these 
associations  extends  to  the  home  life  and  the  field  industries  as  well  as 
in  the  public  life. 

The  girl  who  learned  to  perform  the  duties  of  a  farmer's  wife  work- 
ing at  her  mother's  side  on  the  farm,  finding  pleasure  in  that  duty,  is 
the  ideal  wife  for  a  practical  farmer  every  time.  And  this  wholesome 
fact  is  fully  confirmed  right  here  m  numerous  instances.  The  strife  and 
turmoil  of  a  populous  city  is  gloriously  avoided  in  this  joyous  cadence 
of  Nature,  who  always  lives  next  door. 

"Don't  ever  sell  the  old  farm ;  it  is  the  dearest  place  in  all  the  world," 
writes  a  college  lad  to  his  mother  at  home.  And  even  now  in  these  days 
there  is  a  distinct  trend  back  to  the  farm  all  over  the  country  with 
young  and  old.  Social  gatherings,  concerts,  lectures  and  other  forms 
of  community  interest  are  growing  in  favor  among  these  busy  and 
prosperous  people. 

The  progressive  element  in  Calexico  has  in  some  respects  led  in  these 
organized  social  features.  The  Women's  Improvement  Club,  which  was 
formed  in  1908,  has  been  instrumental  in  that  vicinity,  establishing  a 
reading-room  and  public  library.  There  is  also  a  City  Park  Commission, 
which  has  charge  of  the  public  and  school  grounds.  And  the  new  Dorcas 
Society  has  many  practical  features  of  dispensing  charity.  Then  for  the 
past  three  years  the  mothers  and  teachers  of  the  public  schools  have 


78  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

banded  together  in  a  Parent-Teachers'  Association,  which  discusses 
questions  pertaining  to  child  welfare  in  general. 

THE  CHILDREN 

And  this  leads  directly  to  some  mention  of  the  children  who  inhabit 
this  Valley.  What  about  these  men  and  women  of  the  future,  who  are 
here  training  for  the  duties  and  activities  which  the  coming  years  will 
bring?  How  are  they  being  fitted  for  the  wondrous  achievement  for 
which  their  parents  don't  yet  even  dream  nor  form  any  conception? 
The  work  of  development  and  progress  here  is  sure  to  go  on.  The 
momentum  of  the  past  must  impel  the  work  of  the  future  and  lead  to 
still  greater  efforts  and  grander  results  than  those  which  are  being 
recorded  here.  Their  greater  facilities  for  education  must  lead  to  a 
broader  outlook  upon  the  affairs  of  life,  and  their  training  and  experi- 
ence in  this  Valley  will  open  their  eyes  to  new  possibilities  in  this 
favored  region  as  they  grow  older,  many  of  which  cannot  be  foreseen 
yet  by  those  in  the  arena  of  endeavor  at  the  present  day.  Are  these 
children  being  properly  fitted  to  carry  on  the  work  which  their  pioneer 
parents  have  marked  out  for  them  here?  Surely  their  tasks  must  prove 
easier  than  fell  to  the  lot  of  their  fathers  and  mothers.  And  yet  it  may 
call  for  some  qualifications  of  a  different  character,  as  new  conditions 
arise. 

The  schools  of  the  Valley  are  progressive  and  well  conducted.  The 
teachers  have  been  selected  for  their  educational  fitness  not  only,  but 
with  some  regard  as  to  their  native  equipment  and  tact  for  the  control 
of  the  young  minds  committed  to  their  charge,  no  two  of  them  alike. 
The  requisite  qualifications  for  a  successful  teacher  of  any  child  are 
manifold  and  of  vast  importance,  not  always  fully  realized  by  district 
officials.  The  old  notion  that  most  any  young  lady  with  a  fair  school 
education,  who  wanted  some  easy  position  where  she  could  earn  a 
decent  living  in  a  dignified  way,  was  fitted  for  a  school  teacher  has 
been  fraught  with  danger  in  the  past,  and  has  now  been  almost  entirely 
abandoned. 

But  there  is  a  joyous  bunch  of  youngsters  here  who  seem  to  enjoy 
life  in  full  measure.  They  have  heard  the  story  of  reclamation,  with  its 
hardships  endured  by  their  parents  in  the  earlier  years.  Some  of  these 
children  never  saw  any  snow  and  don't  understand  what  it  is.  Nor  could 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY  79 

they  enjoy  coasting  down  an  icy  hill,  as  they  live  on  a  level  plain;  nor 
any  skating,  for  there  is  never  any  ice  here,  nor  even  anything  to  make 
snowballs  of.  But  any  observant  visitor  to  these  school  grounds  will 
find  no  lack  of  active  sports  on  the  baseball  plot  or  the  links,  where  the 
merry  music  of  juvenile  laughter  rings  out  upon  the  balmy  air.  And 
their  evenings  at  home  when  the  day's  work  is  done  are  spent  in  music 
and  indoor  games,  discussion  of  current  events  or  jolly  converse.  The 
absence  of  saloons  and  other  contaminating  features  so  prevalent  in 
other  communities  greatly  lessens  the  temptation  to  evil  and  wrong- 
doing. Thus  it  is  very  obvious  that  this  Valley  presents  an  ideal  atmos- 
phere for  youthful  life  to  a  degree  not  often  found  in  other  regions. 
And  it  is  pleasant  to  record  also  the  fact  that  the  civil  governments  in 
the  cities  and  towns  of  this  new  county  seem  to  be  in  full  harmony  with 
the  best  interests  of  the  young.  A  remarkable  feature  of  the  region  is 
that  in  this  community  of  50,000  people  no  native  of  the  county  has  yet, 
in  1918,  reached  the  age  of  graduation  from  the  high  school. 

IN  CONCLUSION 

And  now,  after  all  that  has  been  said  concerning  the  general  features 
of  this  newest  county  in  the  State  of  California,  what  is  the  conclusion 
of  the  reader?  Undeveloped  even  yet?  Yes,  there  will  be  no  dispute 
about  that;  the  fact  is  freely  admitted,  even  by  the  most  enthusiastic 
dweller  in  the  Valley.  But  this  man  will  ask  you  to  consider  what  has 
been  done  in  the  few  years  that  have  intervened  between  the  great 
desert  waste  and  the  fertile  garden  of  today.  He  is  optimistic  about 
this,  and  he  has  a  right  to  boast  over  it  and  throw  up  his  hat.  But  the 
work  of  complete  reclamation  has  only  been  begun.  But  there  is  a 
momentous  energy  of  purpose  that  gathers  force  as  the  work  proceeds. 
New  possibilities  are  discovered  every  day,  and  new  ways  to  develop 
them  are  continually  suggesting  themselves. 

The  control  of  the  great  Colorado  River  is  now  more  complete  per- 
haps than  ever  before.  And  yet  this  will  always  remain  the  paramount 
problem  here  upon  which  all  other  features  must  depend.  The  construc- 
tion of  a  series  of  huge  reservoirs  is  now  under  contemplation,  and 
Congress  will  be  asked  to  call  a  convention  of  all  parties  interested  in 
the  near  future.  Some  six  or  seven  of  these  great  reservoirs  are  pro- 
posed at  a  total  cost  of  $15,000,000  per  acre- foot,  one  of  these  alone  to 


80  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

impound  8,000,000  acre-feet  of  water,  or  three  times  as  large  as  any 
other  reservoir  in  the  United  States.  The  estimated  cost  of  these  vast 
storage  basins  is  $50,000,000.  From  four  to  five  million  acres  of  rich 
land,  now  barren,  or  only  partially  productive,  could  thus  be  irrigated. 

And  it  is  significant  to  state  that  of  this  estimated  cost  it  is  claimed 
that  the  land  now  under  cultivation  in  this  Imperial  Valley  alone  pro- 
duced this  year  enough  to  defray  the  entire  cost  of  this  reservoir  sys- 
tem. This  plan  would  also  make  possible  a  vast  power  development 
west  of  the  Rocky  Mountains.  And  it  is  further  urged  that  this  vast 
storage  of  water  would  be  sufficient  to  irrigate  all  the  irrigable  land  be- 
low the  Grand  Canon  in  Colorado,  Wyoming,  Utah,  Nevada,  Arizona, 
California  and  New  Mexico,  leaving  a  vast  surplus  for  Mexico. 

Whether  or  not  this  great  project  will  be  carried  out  remains  to  be 
seen,  of  course.  The  full  control  and  conservation  of  this  Colorado  wa- 
ter is  regarded  as  second  only  in  importance  to  the  Panama  Canal.  If  the 
plan  now  under  consideration  goes  through  it  will  take  at  least  from 
eight  to  ten  years  for  its  consummation,  according  to  the  government 
engineers.  But  unfortunately  there  is  a  vast  deal  of  official  red  tape  be- 
tween this  and  even  the  beginning  of  the  work.  The  region  of  country 
drained  by  this  wonderful  river  and  its  tributaries  is  about  8000  miles 
long  and  from  300  to  500  miles  wide,  and  it  comprises  244,000  square 
miles.  This  river  has  been  likened  unto  the  Nile,  and  is  often  called  the 
"Nile  of  America"  because  of  the  similar  aspects  presented.  The  cli- 
mate in  each  case  is  much  the  same,  while  similar  deposits  of  fertilizing 
silt  are  brought  down. 

But  these  features  have  already  been  referred  to  in  some  detail  in 
previous  chapters.  And  yet  it  should  be  said  in  this  connection  that  this 
subject  of  reclamation  of  arid  lands  in  the  United  States  is  beginning 
to  attract  more  attention  by  reason  of  the  prevailing  food  scarcity, 
which  leads  foreseeing  men  to  cast  about  for  some  new  source  of  sup- 
ply. Only  a  few  days  ago  David  Lubin,  a  California  delegate  to  the  In- 
ternational Institute  of  Agriculture,  made  the  assertion  that  the  recla- 
mation for  cattle  raising  on  the  lands  of  the  eleven  arid  states  of  the 
Union  was  the  key  to  the  food  problem.  And  he  proposed  in  his  report 
to  Congress  that  measures  should  be  taken  at  once  by  the  government  to 
carry  out  the  plan.  Continuing,  he  said  that  the  cattle  of  Europe  were 
being  rapidly  eaten  up,  and  the  cattle  supply  of  the  world  was  diminish- 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY  8l 

ing  under  the  unprecedented  demand  of  the  war  for  hides  and  meat.  He 
did  not  propose  this  national  reclamation  scheme  for  the  war  merely, 
but  for  all  time  in  the  best  interests  of  the  nation.  His  proposition  in- 
cludes the  leading  of  small  streams  from  the  mountains  over  these  arid 
lands,  and  also  the  boring  of  many  artesian  wells. 

Be  this  at  it  may,  however,  it  has  become  very  apparent  that  the  nor- 
mal food  supply  of  the  nation  has  become  inadequate,  and  every  rea- 
sonable effort  should  be  made  to  increase  it.  Not  that  we  are  obliged  to 
feed  the  foreign  nations  which  are  now  engaged  in  bitter  conflict,  but 
for  our  own  protection  and  welfare  as  the  population  increases,  both 
from  natural  cauees  and  the  arrival  of  immigrants  after  the  war.  In 
any  conservative  aspect  therefore  that  presents  itself  there  seems  great 
promise  of  a  grand  future  for  this  Valley  in  the  years  to  come. 

"Come  and  see!"  is  the  invitation  we  extend  in  closing  this  article. 
And  this  invitation  is  re-echoed  from  every  corner  of  this  new  coun- 
ty. The  pioneer  stage  of  development  has  passed,  and  the  period  of  ag- 
gressive activity  has  arrived.  Modern  methods  and  facilities  are  every- 
where apparent,  and  there  is  a  hearty  welcome  awaiting  every  new- 
comer. 

"Come  and  see !" 


CHAPTER  II 
FORMATION  OF  THE  COLORADO  DESERT 

Long  ago,  before  the  memory  of  man,  but  comparatively  recent  from 
a  geological  standpoint,  in  what  is  known  as  the  middle  tertiary  period, 
the  waters  of  the  Gulf  of  California  reached  up  as  far  as  the  slopes  of 
Mounts  San  Jacinto  and  San  Bernardino,  taking  in  all  of  the  region  now 
known  as  the  Imperial  Valley,  Salton  Basin  and  Coachella  Valley,  an 
area  of  over  3000  square  miles ;  the  whole  of  the  present  delta  into 
which  emptied  the  erratic  and  unreliable  Colorado  River — the  real 
heroine  of  the  romance  of  the  desert — for  without  the  Colorado  the 
waters  of  the  sea  would  still  bathe  the  foot  of  the  mountains. 

Although  deprived  of  a  part  of  its  glory  by  a  misnaming  of  the  upper 
branches,  the  Colorado  is  one  of  the  long  rivers  of  the  world,  being 
about  2000  miles  in  length,  including  the  Green  River,  which  unites 
with  the  Grand  to  form  the  Colorado,  the  Green  being  really  a  continu- 
ation of  the  Colorado  itself.  The  river  drains  a  region  of  about' 300,000 
square  miles,  the  southwestern  part  of  Wyoming,  west  Colorado,  east 
Utah,  Nevada  and  new  and  old  Mexico.  Most  of  the  land  is  extremely 
dry,  with  an  average  rainfall  of  only  8J/2  inches,  the  river  being  sup- 
plied chiefly  from  the  melting  snow  of  the  mountainous  parts  of  Wy- 
oming, Utah  and  Colorado. 

The  Colorado  Valley  is  distinctly  divided  into  two  sections.  The 
greater  part  of  the  lower  third  is  but  little  above  the  level  of  the  sea, 
some  parts  in  fact  being  more  than  200  feet  below  the  sea  level,  but 
here  and  there  occasional  mountain  ranges  rise  to  a  height  of  from 
2000  to  6000  feet. 

Its  northern  boundary  is  an  almost  vertical  wall  of  cliffs,  often  thou- 
sands of  feet  high.  The  tableland  which  forms  the  rest  of  the  valley  is 
from  four  to  eight  thousand  feet  above  the  sea,  and  is  surrounded  on 
all  sides  but  the  south  by  snow-capped  mountains,  some  of  which  are 
14,000  feet  high.  The  whole  upper  part  of  the  Colorado  Basin  is  cut  by 
innumerable  gorges  of  inaccessible  depths,  caused  by  the  river  and  its 


FORMATION  OF  COLORADO  DESERT  83 

branches.  They  are  dry,  however,  except  during  the  rainy  season  and 
when  the  snow  melts  on  the  mountains. 

The  erosion  by  the  Colorado  and  its  tributaries  has  played  a  leading 
part  in  making  the  geography  of  the  country.  All  of  the  silt,  broken  and 
powdered  rocks,  vegetation  and  other  rubbish  eroded  by  a  river  is  held 
in  suspension  while  the  river  is  moving  rapidly ;  it  is  only  when  it 
spreads  out,  becoming  shallow  and  sluggish,  that  its  burden  is  deposited 
along  the  banks  and  on  the  bottom.  The  Colorado  reached  no  such  point 
until  it  emptied  into  the  Gulf  of  California,  known  at  various  times  as 
the  "Sea  of  Cortez,"  the  "Sea  of  California"  and  the  "Vermillion  Sea," 
the  latter  name  originating  from  the  red  color  imparted  by  the  sedi- 
ment-laden river,  which  has  been  called  "The  Nile  of  America." 

That  the  valley  was  originally  an  arm  of  the  gulf  is  shown  by  the 
shell  incrustations  and  reefs  of  oyster  shells.  That  the  level  of  the 
country  was  raised  by  volcanic  uplifts  as  some  contend  seems  to  be  dis- 
proved by  the  fact  that  the  water  lines  are  all  unbroken  and  do  not 
show  any  evidence  of  any  convulsions  of  Nature.  Hence  the  theory  that 
the  formation  of  the  valley  was  caused  by  the  silt  of  the  Colorado 
spreading  over  the  bottom  of  the  gulf,  thus  displacing  the  water,  seems 
the  right  one.  Little  by  little  the  silt  was  deposited,  and  little  by  little 
the  sea  retreated,  until  what  had  been  the  sea  became  low  marshy  land, 
with  the  river  meandering  through  banks  of  its  own  creating.  But  with 
the  melting  of  the  mountain  snow  the  sluggish,  sleepy  river,  basking 
lazily  in  the  sun,  became  a  veritable  demon  of  savage  irresponsibility, 
going  wherever  it  would  and  leaving  its  burden.  At  such  times  it  broke 
all  bounds  set  by  previous  deposits.  During  one  such  flood  such  a  vast 
amount  of  debris  was  deposited  that  an  area  in  front  of  its  mouth  was 
covered  by  silt  which  rose  higher  than  the  normal  height  of  the  river, 
so  that  when  the  flood  subsided  a  great  dam  was  formed  which  shut  off 
the  northern  portion  of  the  gulf  (now  the  Imperial,  Salton  and  Coachel- 
la  valleys).  The  channel  connecting  the  two  portions  must  have  become 
more  and  more  shallow  until  it  filled  up  so  that  the  tide  no  longer 
flowed  in  and  out,  thus  forming  a  lake  the  southern  boundaries  of 
which  were  the  silt  and  mud  from  the  Colorado. 

Prof.  Blake's  theory,  formed  from  his  investigations  when  with  the 
Williamson  expedition,  is  that  at  first  this  lake  was  kept  fresh  by  chan- 
nels from  the  river,  but  these  filling  up  shut  off  the  supply,  and  being 


84  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

shut  away  from  the  sea  also,  a  rapid  process  of  evaporation  took  place 
under  the  hot  rays  of  the  sun  and  the  dry  winds,  and  in  the  course  of  a 
few  years  the  lake  dried  up.  Wharton  James  on  the  contrary  contends 
that  as  the  shut-off  portion  of  the  gulf  contained  salt  water,  that  it 
evaporated  by  natural  processes,  and  was  filled  with  fresh  water  by  the 
overflow  from  the  Colorado  breaking  over  channel  and  dam  and  form- 
ing the  ancient  Alamo  River  through  which  part  of  the  Colorado  flowed 
into  the  basin  and  created  a  fresh-water  lake,  which  it  continued  to 
supply  as  the  years  passed,  keeping  as  a  lake  for  a  time  what  had  been 
first  an  arm  of  the  gulf,  then  a  dry  basin  hundreds  of  feet  below  the 
sea  level,  then  a  lake,  then  dry  land  again,  but  how  often  this  region  al- 
ternated between  being  lake  and  dry  land  no  one  knows. 

It  is  assumed  the  Indians  occupied  the  basin  while  dry,  which  will 
explain  their  tradition  that  after  they  had  lived  there  many  years  they 
were  driven  out  by  the  floods.  This  may  have  happened  many  times  be- 
fore another  flood  epoch  came  and  built  a  new  dam  across  the  Alamo 
channel,  which  closed  the  fresh  water  supply,  and  the  Salton  Sea  again 
dried  up  until  it  was  filled  by  accident  in  1905  through  a  miscalculation 
of  the  Southern  California  Improvement  Company's  constructing  en- 
gineer as  to  what  might  be  expected  of  the  Colorado  River,  giving  the 
modern  world  the  opportunity  to  see  Nature  at  work.  But  while  the  cut 
made  by  the  Southern  California  Improvement  Company  was  responsi- 
ble for  the  divergence  of  the  river  primarily,  scientists  believe  from  the 
behavior  of  the  river  since  that  it  would  have  happened  from  natural 
causes  shortly,  anyway.  But  what  was  of  no  particular  moment  in  pre- 
historic times  became  a  calamity  when  the  basin  was  occupied  by  rail- 
roads, farms,  orchards  and  homes.  Hence  at  the  present  time  all  the  in- 
genuity of  man  is  being  brought  to  bear  upon  the  problem  of  curbing 
the  riotous  Colorado  and  making  it  return  to  its  former  channel. 

The  land  formed  by  the  deposit  from  the  river  was  exceedingly  rich, 
but  unfortunately,  except  for  flood  waters,  extremely  dry,  the  annual 
rainfall,  as  before  stated,  averaged  only  about  %l/2  inches,  and  it  pre- 
sented all  the  aspects  of  a  desert  land. 

The  Colorado  Desert,  which  is  the  local  name  given  by  Prof.  Blake  in 
1853  to  tnat  portion  of  the  great  Sonorian  Desert  which  lies  between 
Parker,  Arizona,  and  Picacho,  California,  a  long,  narrow  strip  of  coun- 
try containing  not  less  than  500,000  acres  of  alluvial  soil,  needing  only 


FORMATION  OF  COLORADO  DESERT  85 

water  to  make  it  fertile.  The  temperature  registers  as  low  as  17  degrees, 
and  occasionally  in  summer  as  high  as  125  degrees.  In  the  cool  of  the 
morning  the  air  is  very  stimulating  and  invigorating,  but  the  heat  of  the 
afternoon  is  intense  and  exhausting.  The  rainy  season  is  from  Decem- 
ber to  February,  but  sometimes  there  are  showers  in  the  heart  of  sum- 
mer. 

EARLY  EXPEDITIONS 

The  region  around  the  Gulf  of  California  and  the  Colorado  Valley  was 
visited  by  many  of  the  earlier  adventurers  who  in  the  interest  of  Spain 
were  seeking  places  of  colonization  and  conquest,  and  incidentally  some 
of  the  vast  wealth  supposed  to  be  possessed  by  the  original  owners  of 
the  soil.  In  1539  Cortez  sent  an  expedition,  consisting  of  three  vessels, 
up  the  waters  of  the  gulf,  which  at  that  time  was  supposed  to  be  a  long 
strait  leading  to  the  North  Sea,  and  Lower  California  was  supposed  to 
be  an  island. 

Ulloa  was  the  leader  of  the  expedition,  and  when  he  found  his  way 
barred  by  the  deposits  of  a  huge  river,  and  alarmed  by  the  rushing  wa- 
ter of  the  "Bore,"  he  returned  without  exploring  it.  In  1540  Alargon 
was  sent  up  the  Gulf  by  Mendoza,  the  Spanish  Viceroy,  to  explore,  and 
later  joined  the  land  expedition  under  Coronado,  who  started  overland 
about  the  same  time.  They  were  looking  for  the  seven  cities  of  Cibola, 
which  were  believed  to  possess  fabulous  wealth.  Marcos,  a  Franciscan 
monk,  inspired  by  the  tales  he  heard  from  the  Indians  about  these  cities, 
started  to  investigate,  and  sent  Estaban,  a  negro,  ahead  to  reconnoiter. 
The  latter,  however,  was  captured  and  killed  at  the  first  Pueblo  village, 
and  Marcos,  in  terror  of  his  life,  fled  with  only  a  distant  glimpse  of  the 
coveted  cities.  This  did  not  prevent  his  giving  Coronado,  then  governor 
of  New  Gallicia,  a  glowing  account  of  their  beauty  and  vast  wealth, 
drawing  on  a  lively  imagination  for  what  he  lacked  in  actual  experience 
and  knowledge.  Coronado  lost  no  time  in  taking  Marcos  to  Mexico, 
where  Mendoza  organized  the  two  expeditions  to  hunt  up  these  wonder- 
ful towns  and  appropriate  their  possessions. 

AlarQon  left  his  vessel  at  the  mouth  of  the  river  and  traveled  upward 
for  about  sixteen  miles.  He  discovered  several  harbors  not  seen  by  Ul- 
loa, and  also  discovered  that  the  natives  were  ignorant  of  most  of  the 
names  supposedly  characteristic  of  the  region,  that  Marcos  had  given, 


86  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

and  it  began  to  dawn  upon  him  that  the  good  father  was  a  romancer  of 
considerable  skill  and  fluency.  However,  the  natives  themselves  told 
marvelous  tales  of  things  to  be  seen  inland,  but  no  news  of  Coronado,  so 
Alarcon  returned  to  his  vessel.  A  little  later  he  again  ascended  the  river 
about  85  leagues,  according  to  his  estimate,  but  probably  much  less 
when  we  consider  the  winding  course  of  the  river.  He  left  letters  for 
Diaz  at  the  foot  of  a  large  cross,  and  Diaz,  who  came  by  land  to  the 
spot,  claimed  the  distance  to  be  about  15  leagues.  Diaz  and  his  men  are 
supposed  to  be  the  first  white  men  to  walk  on  the  Colorado  Desert. 

After  reading  Alargon's  letter,  Diaz  followed  the  course  of  the  river 
for  nearly  a  week,  then  crossed  over  on  rafts,  owing  to  the  hostility  of 
the  natives,  undoubtedly  the  Yumas,  who  even  now  consider  the  white 
man  a  trespasser.  They  consented  to  help  Diaz  cross  the  river,  thinking 
this  would  give  them  an  opportunity  to  separate  the  party  and  then  de- 
stroy them.  Diaz,  however,  was  sufficiently  alert  to  meet  them  on  their 
own  ground ;  becoming  suspicious,  one  of  the  Indians  was  subjected  to 
torture  until  he  admitted  the  plot.  In  the  engagement  which  followed 
Diaz  by  his  superior  weapons  was  able  to  drive  the  Indians  back  into 
the  mountains,  but  four  days  wandering  in  the  desert  was  enough  for 
him  and  he  was  glad  to  leave  further  exploration  to  others. 

In  1604  Juan  de  Onate  went  from  San  Juan  de  los  Caballeros,  a  small 
town  near  the  present  location  of  Santa  Fe,  toward  the  west.  He  crossed 
New  Mexico  and  left  his  autograph  chiseled  on  a  rock  called  El  Moro. 
He  went  up  the  Colorado  to  tidewater  and  returned  in  April,  1605.  He 
was  the  last  known  white  man  to  visit  the  region  until  the  missions 
were  established. 

All  the  early  maps  represent  California  as  an  island,  and  the  Gulf  of 
Mexico  as  a  strait  extending  nearly  to  50  degrees  north  latitude,  and 
Sir  Francis  Drake  named  it  New  Albion,  supposing  it  to  be  an  island 
separate  from  the  Spanish  New  World ;  this  error  was  perpetuated  in 
the  English  maps  as  late  as  1721,  although  Father  Kino  and  his  asso- 
ciates show  by  his  map  of  about  1700  that  they  understood  California 
was  a  peninsula  and  that  the  Colorado  River  was  responsible  for  the 
land  formed  at  the  head  of  the  gulf.  According  to  one  historian, 
Father  Consag,  or  Sontag,  made  the  first  survey  of  the  gulf  in  1746. 
He  passed  up  the  western  side  of  the  gulf  in  small  boats  and  reached 
the  mouth  of  the  Colorado,  the  land  around  which,  he  said,  was  low 


FORMATION  OF  COLORADO  DESERT  87 

and  swampy,  red  in  color,  and  so  soft  that  his  men  could  not  stand  on  it. 
After  the  Franciscans  had  established  five  missions  in  Upper  Cali- 
fornia, or  "Alta  California,"  as  it  was  called  to  distinguish  it  from  the 
Peninsula,  it  was  found  to  be  a  long  and  tedious  trip  between  them  and 
the  Sonora  missions  the  way  they  had  to  go  (i.  e.,  by  way  of  the  gulf 
and  up  the  Peninsula),  and  the  missionaries  of  Northern  Sonora 
made  several  attempts  to  reach  them  by  crossing  the  Colorado  River, 
particularly  Francisco  Garces  and  the  Jesuit  Father  Kino,  who  were 
very  persevering  in  their  efforts,  and  Garces  finally  succeeded  in  cross- 
ing the  river  and  penetrating  the  desert  for  some  distance,  but  without 
any  results  worth  mentioning. 

.  At  this  time  there  were  no  white  men  in  California  except  at  the 
missions,  and  the  whole  region  was  one  of  desolation.  The  first  Chris- 
tian to  make  the  trip  across  the  desert  was  Sebastian,  an  Indian  who 
had  run  away  from  the  San  Gabriel  mission  with  his  parents  and  wife, 
and  crossed  over  to  the  Presidio  of  Tubac,  about  forty  miles  south  of 
what  is  now  Tucson,  Arizona.  He  had  roamed  far  into  the  eastern  part 
of  the  desert  to  avoid  being  captured  by  soldiers  and  returned  as  a 
deserter.  His  family  all  died  either  from  hardships  or  were  killed  by 
hostile  Indians.  It  is  certain  Sebastian  crossed  the  desert  to  Yuma 
where  he  was  taken  by  natives  to  the  Pima  and  Papago  country  and 
there  met  Captain  Juan  Bautista  de  Anza,  who  was  a  very  gallant 
officer,  at  that  time  commandant  of  the  Presidio  of  Tubac,  and  who  had 
long  been  anxious  to  have  a  part  in  the  colonization  of  California.  Bu- 
careli,  the  viceroy,  was  finally  induced  to  give  him  a  license  to  explore 
the  country  from  Tubac  to  the  California  missions,  and  find  a  conveni- 
ent and  practical  route  for  travelers  to  and  from  the  missions.  He 
started  in  January,  1774,  with  Sebastian  for  guide  and  Padres  Garces 
and  Font  as  his  spiritual  guides,  and  an  escort  of  34  men,  140  horses 
and  65  cattle.  Reaching  the  river,  de  Anza  made  friends  with  Palma, 
chief  of  the  Yuma  Indians,  who  went  with  him  across  the  river  and  as 
far  as  a  lagoon  to  the  southwest,  a  body  of  water  left  by  the  last  Colo- 
rado overflow.  After  Palma  returned,  De  Anza  wandered  for  six  days 
in  a  region  devoid  of  water  and  grass,  and  so  desolate  and  barren  that 
he  returned  to  Palma  for  help.  It  is  not  known  positively  where  he  was 
during  those  six  days,  but  if  the  lagoon  to  the  southwest  of  Yuma  was 
below  the  Mexican  line  there  is  reason  to  believe  he  was  in  what  is  now 


88  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

known  as  the  Imperial  Valley.  Palma  proved  amenable  to  persuasion, 
and  giving  De  Anza  directions  as  to  the  proper  path  from  one  water 
hole  to  another,  followed  with  the  baggage,  horses  and  cattle,  and  they 
thus  had  very  little  difficulty  in  making  their  way  over  the  sand  hills  and 
into  the  Salton  Basin,  until  they  reached  the  San  Gorgonio  pass  (which 
they  called  Puerto  de  San  Carlo),  over  the  Santa  Ana  River  to  San 
Gabriel.  De  Anza  then  went  on  to  Monterey  and  sent  Padre  Garces 
back  to  the  Colorado  River  to  await  his  return.  He  stayed  in  Monterey 
three  days  and  then  returned,  following  Garces'  trail. 

This  journey  of  a  thousand  miles  over  untrod  desert  being  successful, 
a  second  one  was  taken  over  the  same  route  in  1775.  This  consisted  of 
240  people  and  over  a  thousand  horses,  mules,  sheep,  etc.,  and  they  went 
from  Tubac  to  San  Francisco.  They  evidently  experienced  unusual 
weather,  for  De  Anza's  diary  tells  of  continued  storms  of  rain,  hail  and 
snow,  accompanied  by  extremely  low  temperature.  However,  while 
many  were  sick,  none  died,  although  many  were  women  ;  and  eight  des- 
ert-born infants  raised  their  number  to  248. 

The  route  which  these  two  expeditions  covered  was  used  for  a  num- 
ber of  years.  In  1780  Garces  established  two  mission  pueblos  at  Yuma, 
but  Palma's  influence  was  not  enough  to  overcome  the  antagonism  the 
Yumas  always  had  for  the  traveler,  and  in  June,  1781,  Riviera,  who  had 
been  governor  of  both  Upper  and  Lower  California,  stopped  at  Yuma 
with  a  party  of  colonists  he  was  taking  to  Los  Angeles.  He  crossed  the 
Colorado,  and  after  sending  his  party  on  across  the  desert,  camped  on 
the  east  bank  with  twelve  men.  On  Tuesday,  July  17th,  the  Indians 
attacked  the  two  Pueblos  and  Riviera  and  his  soldiers  and  killed  forty- 
six  of  them,  including  Riviera.  The  massacre  was  discovered  by  Ensign 
Limon,  who  had  escorted  the  settlers  to  San  Gabriel.  He  was  on  his 
way  back  with  nine  men,  when  some  desert  natives  told  him  of  the 
outbreak.  He  left  two  men  in  charge  of  his  animals  and  went  forward  to 
investigate  ;  there  the  charred  ruins  of  the  buildings  and  the  dead  bodies 
lying  about  told  their  own  story.  While  he  was  reconnoitering  he  was 
himself  attacked,  and  he  and  eight  men  wounded.  Starting  to  return  to 
San  Gabriel,  he  found  the  men  he  had  left  with  the  horses  also  killed. 
He  with  difficulty  made  his  way  back  to  San  Gabriel  with  his  bad  news. 
In  an  attempt  to  punish  the  Yumas  two  forces  were  sent  out  at  differ- 
ent times,  one  from  Sonora  and  one  from  California,  but  as  their  efforts 


FORMATION  OF  COLORADO  DESERT  89 

were  but  half-hearted,  all  they  succeeded  in  doing  was  to  further  embit- 
ter the  Yumas  against  the  white  man  without  particularly  impressing 
them  with  his  authority  and  power.  As  a  result  there  was  a  practical 
abandonment  of  the  new  route,  although  it  was  occasionally  used. 

In  1782  Don  Pedro  Fages  made  the  first  trip  from  the  Colorado  to 
San  Diego.  In  1783  an  attempt  was  made  to  follow  the  same  route,  but 
the  party  only  went  as  far  as  the  mountains  and  returned.  The  route 
was  too  difficult  and  few  ever  used  it  until  the  United  States  army  of 
the  west  under  Kearny  came  through  in  1847,  after  which  it  became 
the  southern  route  for  the  gold  seekers. 

The  first  English-speaking  man  to  look  upon  the  Colorado  Desert  was 
probably  Lieutenant  Hardy  of  the  British  Royal  Navy,  who  led  an 
expedition  sent  out' by  England  in  1800  hoping  to  find  a  river  ascending 
from  the  Gulf  of  California  far  into  the  interior  of  the  gre*at  northwest 
navigable  for  a  sufficient  distance  to  make  it  a  commercial  highway  into 
the  interior.  The  river  he  discovered,  however,  was  a  narrow,  shallow 
and  sluggish  stream,  and  with  much  difficulty  he  succeeded  in  passing 
the  sand  bars  and  low  islands  in  the  mouth,  and  finally  entered  a  small 
lake.  Not  understanding  the  conditions  he  found,  he  landed  and  climbed 
a  butte  several  hundred  feet  high  which  was  washed  by  the  waters  of 
the  lake  to  investigate.  To  the  far  north  as  far  as  the  eye  could  reach 
stretched  a  barren  and  sun-blistered  desert.  The  river  of  which  he  had 
expected  such  great  things,  was  spread  out  over  immense  marshes.  In 
his  report  he  stated  that  the  Colorado  was  not  navigable.  He  manifestly 
was  not  in  the  channel  which  until  1906  was  known  as  the  Colorado 
River,  but  in  one  which  ran  from  Volcano  Lake  to  the  gulf  and  which 
has  since  been  known  as  Hardy's  Colorado,  or  sometimes  the  Hardy 
River.  Geographers  have  believed  all  these  years  that  Hardy  overlooked 
the  entrance  to  the  real  Colorado,  but  since  that  erratic  stream  has 
deserted  its  bed,  and  is  flowing  across  the  marshes  into  Rio  Paradones, 
thence  into  Volcano  Lake  and  out  to  the  gulf  by  way  of  the  Hardy,  they 
are  inclined  to  believe  it  was  doing  the  same  at  the  time  of  Hardy's 
expedition,  as  he  could  hardly  have  helped  seeing  the  channel  it  had 
occupied  for  years. 

In  1807  Johnathan  Trumbull,  a  native  of  Connecticut,  but  known  in 
California  as  Juan  Jose  Warner,  took  an  expedition  to  Santa  Fe,  and 
soon  after  with  Jackson,  Waldo  and  Young,  left  for  California.  They 


go 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


crossed  the  Colorado  below  the  Gila,  and  thence  across  the  desert  to  San 
Diego  via  San  Luis  Rey.  Warner  engaged  in  various  mercantile  ven- 
tures in  Los  Angeles,  and  having  become  a  naturalized  Mexican  citizen, 
was  given  a  grant  of  land  covering  a  ranch  which  still  bears  his  name, 
to  which  he  moved  in  1844  with  his  family,  remaining  thirteen  years, 
when  they  were  driven  off  by  an  Indian  uprising. 

About  this  time  the  American  statesmen  were  awakening  to  the  com- 
mercial value  of  the  west  and  to  try  to  save  it  for  the  United  States. 
Mexico  now  being  independent  was  the  nominal  owner  of  the  Spanish 
possessions  in  the  southwest,  but  was  too  far  away  to  hold  a  very  tight 
rein.  It  was  clear  to  any  thinker  that  some  stronger  government  would 
soon  appropriate  them.  Both  France  and  Great  Britain  were  known  to 
be  just  awaiting  an  excuse.  Senator  Benton  of  Missouri,  the  gateway  of 
the  west,  from  the  reports  of  the  possibilities  of  the  country  beyond, 
was  most  anxious  to  obtain  it  for  his  own  country.  However,  his  fore- 
sight was  not  shared  by  his  colleagues  who  debated  the  matter  in  Con- 
gress with  arguments  which  in  the  light  of  succeeding  events  seem  to 
us  very  laughable.  Petty  politics  also  interfered.  Finally,  through  Ben- 
ton's efforts,  John  C.  Fremont,  a  young  engineer,  was  put  in  charge  of 
an  expedition  whose  secret  intent  was  the  occupation  of  the  west  by  the 
United  States.  But  even  when  he  was  ready  to  start  petty  politics  inter- 
fered, and  his  wife,  who  was  a  daughter  of  Senator  Benton  (Jessie), 
intercepted  and  withheld  the  order,  delaying  them  until  the  expedition 
was  beyond  reach,  rather  than  see  the  fruit  of  her  father's  and  hus- 
band's work  lost  by  political  filibustering.  We  probably  owe  it  to  her 
that  California  is  one  of  the  United  States  instead  of  a  French  or  Eng- 
lish colony,  as  Fremont  was  accidentally  turned  into  California  and  his 
reports  roused  the  whole  country. 

In  1846  the  Americans  in  Southern  California,  which  was  then  part 
of  the  Mexican  possessions,  urged  the  government  to  send  troops  to 
protect  them  from  the  insults  and  depredations  of  an  organized  gang 
of  Mexican  bandits.  Fort  Leavenworth  was  the  nearest  fort  to  the 
coast,  and  the  route  between  was  little  used  and  full  of  hardships,  but 
as  complaints  and  petitions  were  becoming  more  frequent,  in  June  an 
order  was  issued  to  send  a  column  of  cavalry  under  Colonel  Philip 
Kearny  to  their  relief,  with  directions  to  proceed  by  the  shortest  route 
to  San  Diego.  The  war  department  asked  that  officers  from  the  engi- 


FORMATION  OF  COLORADO  DESERT  91 

neering  department  be  sent  along  to  take  observations.  Lieutenant 
Emory  and  two  assistants  were  appointed  for  this  end  of  the  expedi- 
tion. They  followed  the  old  trail  between  the  mouth  of  the  Gila  and 
San  Diego.  Some  captured  Mexicans  informed  them  the  waters  of  the 
lake  some  30  or  40  miles  away  were  too  salty  to  use,  but  because  other 
information  did  not  tally  with  this  statement  they  disbelieved  it,  and 
continued  on  their  way.  They  found  it  even  worse  than  the  Mexican 
had  said,  and  searching  parties  were  sent  out  to  locate  a  running  stream 
which  they  said  they  had  found  a  league  west.  Lieutenant  Emory's  re- 
ports were  complete  and  detailed — he  speaks,  for  instance,  of  reaching 
"an  immense  level  of  clay  hard  and  smooth  as  a  bowling  green,"  which 
it  is  quite  likely  was  the  present  site  of  the  City  of  Imperial.  He  also 
noted  the  shells  in  the  desert,  and  Captain  A.  A.  Johnson,  who  was  with 
him,  was  probably  the  first  to  realize  that  the  desert  was  the  bed  of  a 
departed  body  of  water,  for  he  wrote :  "At  a  not  distant  day  this  place 
which  is  now  a  dry  desert  was  a  permanent  lake."  They  make  no  men- 
tion of  the  fact  that  the  desert  was  below  the  sea  level,  which  is  a  sur- 
prising oversight  considering  the  completeness  of  their  notes. 

Kearny's  party  reached  San  Diego  early  in  1847  and  engaged  with 
the  Mexicans  there  and  later  at  Los  Angeles,  where  the  American  flag 
was  planted  to  stay. 

Kearny's  party  was  followed  by  another;  a  company  of  Mormons 
expelled  from  Nauvoo,  Illinois,  were  formed  into  a  company  consisting 
of  500  men  of  all  ages,  under  Captain  St.  George  Cook,  known  as  the 
"Mormon  Battalion."  After  many  and  extreme  hardships,  and  ham- 
pered by  a  wagon  train,  for  which  they  were  obliged  to  hew  the  rocks 
to  make  a  path  wide  enough  to  let  them  through  the  canyon  at  San 
Felipe,  they  reached  Los  Angeles. 

The  Mexican  war  resulted  in  the  seizure  of  California  and  New  Mex- 
ico and  the  purchase  of  Arizona.  The  treaties  of  Guadeloupe  Hidalgo 
and  the  Gadsen  Purchase  stipulated  that  the  boundary  line  between 
Mexico  and  the  United  States  should  be  jointly  explored  and  run,  and 
in  1850  to  1853  John  Russell  Bartlett  and  assistants  did  the  work  for 
the  United  States  and  the  route  they  followed  was  from  San  Diego  to 
Yuma  by  way  of  San  Pasqual  (Warner's  ranch)  and  San  Felipe,  thence 
by  Cameron  Lake  to  the  Colorado  River. 

Some  time  before  gold  was  discovered  in  California  a  General  Ander- 


92  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

son  of  Tennessee  went  from  Tucson  to  California,  and  on  reaching  the 
Colorado  built  a  ferry  boat  to  transport  his  party  and  equipment.  After- 
ward he  gave  this  boat  to  the  Yuma  Indians  with  a  certificate  by  which 
they  held  possession  as  long  as  they  would  ferry  Americans  across  the 
river  at  the  rate  of  one  dollar  per  man,  one  for  his  horse  or  mule  and 
one  for  his  pack,  but  would  forfeit  it  when  they  failed  to  keep  this  rate. 
The  Indians  were  faithful  to  this  contract  and  for  some  time  operated 
the  ferry  at  the  lower  crossing,  some  four  or  five  miles  below  Yuma. 
But  with  the  rush  of  adventurers  to  the  gold  fields  the  white  men  looked 
with  covetous  eye  on  a  business  they  knew  would  prove  a  gold  mine  it- 
self, and  this  caused  the  first  trouble  with  the  Indians.  Dr.  Lincoln,  said 
to  be  a  relative  of  President  Lincoln,  seeing  the  possibilities  of  the  ferry 
run  by  an  American  and  not  wishing  to  interfere  with  the  Indians,  es- 
tablished one  at  the  junction  of  the  Gila  and  Colorado.  It  proved  very 
profitable,  and  he  had  a  number  of  men  working  for  him.  One  of  them, 
a  man  named  Glanton,  quickly  acquired  a  dominating  influence  in  the 
business.  Until  his  advent  there  had  been  no  conflict  between  the  In- 
dians and  Dr.  Lincoln,  but  Glanton  determined  to  drive  the  Indians  out 
of  business,  and  is  said  to  have  destroyed  the  Indians'  boat  and  mur- 
dered a  white  man  working  for  them.  This  treatment  infuriated  the  na- 
tives, who  never  had  been  very  friendly  to  the  whites,  and  it  resulted  in 
the  murder  of  the  white  men  at  the  ferry  and  the  determination  on  the 
part  of  the  Indians  to  kill  every  American  they  met.  As  a  large  party  of 
immigrants  was  expected  shortly,  Governor  Burnett,  for  their  protec- 
tion and  the  punishment  of  the  Yumas,  ordered  the  sheriff  of  San  Diego 
to  enroll  20  men,  and  the  sheriff  of  Los  Angeles  40,  to  be  placed  under 
the  command  of  General  Bean  of  the  State  militia  and  proceed  at  once  to 
the  scene  of  the  trouble.  General  Bean  placed  the  command  in  the  hands 
of  General  Moorhead,  but  the  expedition  did  no  good  whatever,  but  sent 
in  a  tremendous  expense  account,  so  in  the  following  November  Fort 
Yuma  was  established  for  the  protection  of  that  part  of  the  country, 
and  Major  Heintzel  was  put  in  command.  Under  his  authority  a  party 
left  San  Diego  in  May,  1850,  fully  equipped  to  build  and  run  boats  at 
Lincoln's  ferry.  After  a  few  years  of  successful  operation,  the  ferry 
line  was  sold  to  Diego  Yeager,  who  made  a  fortune  out  of  it  before  the 
building  of  the  Southern  Pacific  Railway,  after  which  it  ceased  to  be 
so  profitable. 


FORMATION  OF  COLORADO  DESERT 


93 


Another  expedition  of  military  engineers,  sent  out  to  investigate  pos- 
sible railroad  routes  to  the  coast,  passed  over  the  desert  in  1853  under 
Lieutenant  R.  S.  Williamson,  and  Professor  William  Blake  was  ap- 
pointed geologist  of  the  party.  His  reports  are  both  complete  and  very 
interesting. 

In  1855  Congress  appropriated  money  to  buy  camels  for  transporta- 
tion purposes  across  the  desert,  it  being  necessary  in  some  way  to  re- 
duce the  time,  labor  and  discomfort  of  desert  travel :  and  two  different 
herds  were  purchased,  one  in  1856  and  another  in  1857.  In  some  re- 
spects they  were  very  satisfactory ;  but  a  camel  needs  to  be  handled  by 
men  who  understand  it,  and  when  the  officers  who  did  were  transferred 
and  the  new  men  in  charge  neither  understood  nor  cared  to  learn,  com- 
plications ensued  which  resulted  in  the  abandonment  of  the  camel 
scheme,  and  the  sale  of  the  animals,  save  a  few  which  escaped  to  the 
desert. 

OLD  STAGE  ROUTES 

As  a  preliminary  to  the  building  of  the  railroads,  various  stage  lines 
were  run.  One  called  the  San  Antonio  and  San  Diego.  Semi-monthly 
stages  ran  for  about  a  year.  Then  the  historic  Butterfield  Stage  Coach 
Line  was  started.  It  ran  semi-weekly,  and  had  a  six  years'  contract  with 
the  government  for  carrying  mails,  at  $600,000  per  year.  The  route  lay 
between  St.  Louis  and  San  Francisco,  and  was  covered  in  from  twenty 
to  twenty-two  days,  although  it  is  said  to  have  made  the  trip  in  sixteen 
upon  occasion.  There  were  three  stations  upon  this  line,  at  Coyote 
Springs,  Indian  Wells,  and  at  the  east  side  chain  of  sand  hills. 

The  mail  service  of  the  Butterfield  stage  was  not  the  first  that  Cali- 
fornia had.  As  early  as  the  time  when  Benjamin  Franklin  was  appointed 
postmaster  general  for  the  colonies,  there  were  monthly  mail  trips  be- 
tween Monterey  in  Upper  California,  and  Loreto,  at  the  end  of  Lower 
California.  They  even  had  a  franking  system  in  full  force,  which  was 
seemingly  as  much  abused  in  those  days  as  in  our  own. 

The  California  mail  system  was  not  only  four  hundred  miles  longer 
than  the  Continental  one  on  the  eastern  coast,  but  it  made  better  time, 
which  is  a  surprise  to  those  of  us  who  are  in  the  habit  of  considering 
California  and  its  institutions  as  new  and  rather  undeveloped. 


94 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


Northern  California  had  a  number  of  stage  routes  beside  the  Butter- 
field— the  first  in  Southern  California  was  Gregory's  Great  Atlantic  and 
Pacific  Express.  It  brought  the  eastern  mail  down  from  San  Francisco. 
The  first  overland  stage  by  a  southern  route  started  from  San  Antonio, 
Texas,  and  followed  the  extreme  southern  route  through  New  Mexico 
and  Arizona  to  California.  Owing  to  Indian  outrages  this  route  was 
abandoned.  The  Butterfield  route  was  the  largest  and  best  organized  of 
all  the  stage  routes,  but  it  suffered  so  much  loss  through  the  Civil  war 
that  it  was  abandoned.  The  last  stage  company  was  Wells  Fargo  & 
Company,  which  was  established  in  1868. 

The  same  year  that  the  Butterfield  stage  line  was  established,  Dr. 
Oliver  Wozencraft  began  to  agitate  the  question  of  bringing  the  waters 
of  the  Colorado  River  into  the  Salton  Sink  for  irrigation  purposes. 
Many  people  less  informed  on  the  subject  of  irrigation  than  he  regarded 
him  as  a  dreamer,  but  nevertheless  his  project  might  have  gone  through 
but  for  the  breaking  out  of  the  Civil  war.  In  1859  a  bill  was  passed  by 
the  California  State  Legislature  which  ceded  to  Dr.  Wozencraft  and 
associates  about  1600  square  miles  of  desert  land  in  consideration  of  a 
water  supply  being  introduced.  The  reclamation  must  begin  in  two  years 
and  be  finished  in  ten,  and  as  fast  as  it  was  introduced  the  government 
was  to  issue  patents  for  the  land  reclaimed ;  the  title  to  be  granted  when 
all  conditions  were  filled.  But  the  Civil  war  stopped  proceedings.  After 
the  war,  Dr.  Wozencraft  again  endeavored  to  bring  the  matter  up,  but 
died  suddenly  in  Washington  just  as  it  was  about  to  come  up  for  an- 
other hearing.  He  sacrificed  his  entire  property  to  this  project  of  recla- 
mation. 

In  1 881  to  1884  the  tracks  of  the  Southern  Pacific  were  laid  follow- 
ing the  main  survey  of  the  government  in  1853.  Those  who  complain 
of  the  fatigue  and  dust  of  the  trip  across  the  desert  in  the  comfortable 
Pullman  of  today  should  read  the  diaries  of  those  pioneers  of  western 
progress  and  learn  what  discomfort  in  traveling  really  is.  The  comple- 
tion of  the  Southern  Pacific  Railroad  closed  the  first  part  of  the  story 
of  the  Colorado  Desert. 

In  1883  the  New  Liverpool  Salt  Company  filed  on  some  land  and 
leased  more  from  the  Southern  Pacific  and  began  to  recover  the  layers 
of  salt  which  covered  the  bottom  of  the  Salton  Basin — now  the  Salton 
Sea.  They  scraped  the  salt  in  heaps  with  steam  plows  and  then  purified 


FORMATION  OF  COLORADO  DESERT  95 

it.  This  company  made  a  great  deal  of  money  until  the  overflow  which 
in  1906  destroyed  the  whole  plant. 

EARLY  SETTLERS  IN  THE  VALLEY 

P.  J.  Storms  was  one  of  the  first  permanent  settlers  in  the  Valley ;  he 
came  just  after  the  annual  overflow  of  the  river  and  saw  the  land  cov- 
ered with  grass,  and  thousands  of  head  of  stock  grazing. 

In  the  valley  were  Andy  Elliott,  Tom  McKane,  Fred  Webb,  Nat  Wil- 
lard,  Bruce  Casebier,  Bert  McKane,  Wash  Lawrence,  Arthur  Ewens, 
Thomas  Silsbee  and  Charles  Hook.  The  Valley  then  had  one  voting  pre- 
cinct with  ten  voters  on  the  list :  P.  J.  Storms,  Arthur  Ewens,  A.  J.  El- 
liott, Fred  Hall,  William  Huitt,  W.  Wilkins,  Thomas  Silsbee,  A.  N. 
Jones,  William  Harris  and  Peter  Larson.  It  was  still  part  of  San  Diego 
County  and  they  were  140  miles  by  stage  and  300  miles  by  rail  from  the 
county  seat,  and  as  a  result  the  election  supplies  did  not  arrive  for  the 
first  election  until  it  was  over. 

In  October,  1900,  the  Imperial  Land  Company  started  the  towns  of 
Imperial,  Brawley,  Calexico,  Heber  and  Silsbee.  Imperial  was  located 
in  the  center  of  the  irrigable  district,  and  was  intended  to  be  the  chief 
city  of  Imperial  Valley,  Calexico  on  the  international  line,  Silsbee  to 
the  southwest,  Brawley  north,  and  Heber  to  the  south  ;  afterward  Holt- 
ville  and  El  Centro  were  added  to  the  list. 

The  first  store  in  Imperial  was  for  general  merchandise  and  was  built 
and  stocked  by  Dr.  Heffernan,  and  Millard  Hudson  erected  a  tent  hotel. 
The  next  year  was  built  the  Christian  Church  and  a  printing  office. 
They  were  the  only  wooden  buildings  in  the  Imperial  Valley  until  late 
in  1901.  As  the  accommodations  improved  the  stream  of  land  seekers  in- 
creased. W.  F.  Holt  built  a  telephone  line  from  Imperial  to  Flowing 
Well  telegraph  station.  The  Imperial  Press,  Henry  Reed,  editor,  was 
the  first  paper.  The  first  child  born  was  a  son  of  Tom  Beach,  superin- 
tendent of  construction  of  the  canals.  Most  of  the  necessaries  used  by 
the  settlers  in  the  early  days  was  brought  in  by  the  freighter  with  a 
long  string  of  mules,  but  the  mule  is  being  displaced  by  the  automobile 
and  traction  engine,  and  one  of  the  picturesque  effects  of  the  country 
is  fast  disappearing. 

In  May  of  that  year  (1891)  a  postoffice  was  given  to  Imperial  with 
Dr.  Heffernan  as  postmaster,  and  in  the  fall  a  public  school  was  organ- 


96  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

ized  by  Professor  J.  E.  Carr  from  Nevada  City.  This  school  was  to 
serve  for  the  entire  district  and  was  located  in  the  center  of  the  popula- 
tion, which  was  about  10  miles  south  of  Imperial  City  on  the  bank  of 
the  main  canal.  The  night  before  the  school  was  to  open  Professor  Carr 
took  two  men  and  drove  to  the  location  in  a  wagon  and  set  up  a  tent, 
and  next  to  it  they  built  the  school  house  of  arrow  weed,  with  eight  sup- 
porting poles  and  the  next  day  this  sheltered  50  pupils,  many  of  whom 
later  walked  five  miles  every  day.  In  the  following  spring  the  district 
was  divided  and  permanent  buildings  erected. 

In  April,  1902,  the  Imperial  Land  Company  invited  the  Southern 
California  Editorial  Association  to  make  an  excursion  to  the  Imperial 
Valley,  and  they  were  so  well  treated  that  they  felt  very  friendly  to  the 
Valley  and  the  publicity  they  gave  to  the  work  of  development  brought 
a  great  many  settlers. 

In  1902  the  government  put  out  "Circular  No.  9,"  a  so-called  soil  ex- 
pert's report  on  the  soil  of  the  Valley  which  had  been  eagerly  watched 
for  both  by  the  settlers  and  prospective  settlers.  He  proved  conclusively, 
to  his  own  satisfaction,  that  the  land  was  too  full  of  alkali  to  grow  any- 
thing. It  did  not  leave  the  settlers  a  ray  of  hope.  Many  newspapers  gave 
publicity  to  the  pamphlet  and  featured  it.  One  editor,  Isaac  Frazier  of 
the  Oceanside  Blade,  treated  the  thing  as  a  joke  and  with  some  others 
refused  to  take  the  government  expert  seriously.  There  is  no  doubt  but 
the  report  did  a  great  deal  of  damage  to  the  community,  beside  injuring 
the  credit  of  the  California  Development  Company.  Dissensions  arising 
in  the  company  itself,  the  Chaffeys  withdrew  from  the  enterprise.  Time 
has  disproved  the  report  of  the  government's  inexperienced  expert,  and 
the  settlers  have  gone  on  raising  all  sorts  of  things  that  were  said  to  be 
impossible. 

In  1902  the  first  Farmers  Institute  was  held  in  the  new  brick  block  of 
the  Imperial  Land  Company.  In  August  they  gave  a  big  watermelon  fes- 
tival where  250  people  feasted.  In  fact  the  year  1902  witnessed  the  birth 
of  many  business  enterprises  and  a  rapid  growth  of  construction  and 
settlement.  Water  was  turned  into  the  main  canal  in  March,  1902. 


CHAPTER  III 
EARLY  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

BY  C.  R.  ROCKWOOD 
(written  in  1909) 

Early  in  1892,  while  located  at  North  Yakima,  Washington,  I  received 
a  letter  from  one  John  C.  Beatty,  writing  from  Denver,  sending  to  me  a 
prospectus  and  plans  of  what  was  called  the  Arizona  &  Sonora  Land  & 
Irrigation  Company.  They  proposed  to  take  water  from  the  Colorado 
River  and  carry  it  on  to  a  tract  of  a  million  and  a  half  acres  in  Sonora, 
which  they  claimed  to  own.  The  board  of  directors  of  the  company  con- 
sisted of  several  of  the  leading  financial  men  of  Colorado,  and  Mr. 
Beatty's  desire  was  that  I  should  make  them  a  proposition  whereby  I 
would  become  the  chief  engineer  of  that  project  and  undertake  the  con- 
struction of  its  proposed  canals. 

After  a  correspondence  extending  over  a  period  of  four  or  five 
months,  I  finally  met  Mr.  Beatty  at  Denver  in  August,  1892,  and  enter- 
ed there  into  an  agreement  with  this  company,  and  in  September  of 
that  year  came  to  Yuma  in  order  to  outline  and  take  charge  of  the  pro- 
ject of  their  company. 

In  Denver  I  met  Mr.  Samuel  Ferguson,  who  afterward  became  con- 
nected with  me  in  the  promotion  of  the  California  Development 'Com- 
pany and  who  was  at  that  time  the  general  manager  of  the  Kern  County 
Land  Company.  Mr.  Ferguson  had  written  to  me  previously,  asking  me 
to  become  the  chief  engineer  of  the  Kern  County  Land  Company,  situ- 
ated at  Bakersfield,  California,  and  he  met  me  in  Denver  in  order  to 
outline  their  project  to  me  before  I  might  close  with  Mr.  Beatty.  As  the 
Kern  County  canal  system  was  partially  completed,  I  decided  to  under- 
take the  new  project  rather  than  the  rebuilding  of  an  old  house,  with 
the  result  that  I  came  to  Yuma  in  September  of  the  year  1892  and  un- 
dertook surveys  to  determine  the  feasibility  of  the  Arizona  &  Sonora 
Land  &  Irrigation  Company's  proposition.  After  projecting  these  sur- 
veys I  decided  that  the  irrigation  of  the  Sonora  land  at  the  time  was  en- 


g8  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

tirely  unfeasible  and  reported  to  my  people  that,  in  my  opinion,  they 
would  lose  any  money  they  might  spend  on  the  project. 

In  the  meantime,  however,  while  these  surveys  were  in  progress  I  had 
taken  a  team  and  made  a  trip  into  that  portion  of  the  Colorado  Desert 
which  is  now  known  as  the  Imperial  Valley.  We  knew  that  during  the 
flood  of  the  Colorado  River  in  the  year  1891  the  overflow  had  found  its 
way  into  this  territory.  Mr.  Hawgood,  at  the  time  the  resident  engineer 
of  the  Southern  Pacific  Company  at  Los  Angeles,  had  for  his  company 
made  a  study  of  this  overflow  and  from  the  data  at  his  command  had 
compiled  a  map  of  the  territory.  This  map,  as  well  as  the  government 
surveys  of  1854  and  1856,  showed  that  not  only  was  there  in  all  prob- 
ability a  large  area  of  fertile  land  in  the  valley,  but  that  these  lands  lay 
below  the  Colorado  River  and  could  be  irrigated  from  it.  Many  years 
before  this,  Dr.Wozencraft  of  San  Bernardino  had  attempted  to  get  the 
government  to  bring  water  into  the  Colorado  Desert,  and  I  believe  that 
General  Fremont  also  attempted  to  get  the  government  to  turn  the  wat- 
er into  what  is  known  now  as  Salton  Sea,  not  for  the  purpose  of  irriga- 
tion, but  for  the  purpose  of  creating  a  large  inland  lake  in  the  hope  that 
it  would  ameliorate  the  severe  climatic  conditions  that  obtained  in  this 
territory. 

The  result  of  my  investigations  at  this  time  was  such  as  to  lead  me 
to  believe  that,  without  doubt,  one  of  the  most  meritorious  irrigation 
projects  in  the  country  would  be  bringing  together  the  land  of  the  Col- 
orado Desert  and  the  water  of  the  Colorado  River. 

In  the  preliminary  report  made  to  the  Denver  corporation  early  in 
the  year  1893,  I  urged  them  to  undertake  the  surveys  which  might  be 
necessary  in  order  to  prove  or  disprove  my  belief,  and  I  was  authorized 
to  run  preliminary  lines  in  order  to  determine  the  levels,  the  possible 
acreage  of  available  lands  and,  approximately,  the  cost  of  construction. 

They  were  so  well  assured  from  the  nature  of  my  preliminary  report 
that  the  Colorado  Desert  project  was  a  meritorious  one  that  they  imme- 
diately took  steps  to  change  the  name  of  their  company  from  the  Ari- 
zona &  Sonora  Land  &  Irrigation  Company  to  that  of  the  Colorado  Riv- 
er Irrigation  Company,  and  assured  me  that  if  my  report,  after  making 
the  necessary  surveys,  was  sufficiently  favorable,  they  had  back  of 
them  a  fund  of  two  million  dollars  to  carry  out  the  project. 

I  undertook  then  during  the  winter  of  1892-1893  very  careful  sur- 


EARLY  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY  99 

veys,  starting  from  a  proposed  heading  about  twelve  miles  above  Yuma, 
at  a  point  called  the  Pot  Holes,  situated  about  one  mile  below  the  La- 
guna  dam  of  the  reclamation  service;  the  surveys  extended  from  this 
point  into  the  Colorado  Desert  and  around  to  the  Southern  Pacific  Rail- 
road in  the  neighborhood  of  Flowing  Well. 

It  was  necessary  for  the  canal  to  enter  Mexico.  All  of  the  lands  in 
Mexico  were  owned  by  General  Guillermo  Andrade,  although  the 
Blythe  estate  claimed  to  own  one-half  of  the  Andrade  lands.  Beatty,  un- 
fortunately for  him,  consulted  his  personal  friend,  General  W.  H.  H. 
Hart,  who  was  at  that  time  attorney  general  for  the  State  of  California, 
as  well  as  attorney  for  the  Blythes.  Hart  showed  so  little  faith  in  An- 
drade's  ability  to  deliver  title  that  Beatty,  instead  of  attempting  to  pla- 
cate Andrade  and  obtain  his  co-operation,  succeeded  in  antagonizing 
him  and  was  afterward  unable  to  enter  into  any  agreement  that  would 
permit  his  company  to  build  in  Mexico. 

In  the  panic  of  1893  most  of  the  directors  of  the  Colorado  River  Irri- 
gation Company  were  so  crippled  financially  that  they  were  unable  to 
carry  out  this  project,  notwithstanding  the  fact  that  my  surveys  and 
reports  developed  a  much  more  favorable  proposition  than  my  prelimi- 
nary report  even  had  anticipated.  Unfortunately,  Mr.  Beatty,  who  was 
the  promoter  and  manager  of  this  enterprise,  was  of  the  Colonel  Sellers 
type  of  man  and  his  ideas  were  not  always  practical. 

Beatty,  however,  not  discouraged,  went  to  New  York  in  that  year 
and  attempted  to  secure  the  funds  required  for  construction.  He  elim- 
inated from  his  board  of  directors  the  Denver  people,  substituting  very 
strong  New  York  men.  Among  his  original  New  York  board  was  John 
Straitton,  the  multimillionaire  president  of  the  Straitton  &  Storm  Cigar 
Company,  manufacturers  of  the  Owl  cigar ;  F.  K.  Hains,  superintend- 
ent of  the  Manhattan  Elevated  Railway  Companies ;  Thomas  L.  James, 
postmaster  general  under  Cleveland's  administration,  and  several  other 
men  of  equal  prominence,  but  whose  names  I  forget. 

Those  men  were  mostly  dummy  directors,  receiving  in  addition  to 
the  stock  bonus  for  use  of  their  names,  so  much  for  every  time  they  at- 
tended a  directors'  meeting,  and  Beatty  succeeded  in  obtaining  very 
little  aid  financially  from  them.  He  had  interested,  though,  a  cousin, 
James  H.  Beatty,  of  Canada,  from  whom  he  obtained  a  great- deal  of 
financial  assistance.  James  H.  Beatty,  I  believe,  put  in  over  fifty  thou- 


ioo  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

sand  dollars  at  this  time,  but  in  the  next  year,  1894,  he  not  only  with- 
drew his  support,  but  entered  suit  against  John  C.  Beatty  in  order  to 
prevent  him  from  selling  any  more  stock  in  the  Colorado  River  Irriga- 
tion Company. 

As  an  illustration  of  the  character  of  John  C.  Beatty,  in  March,  1894, 
he  came  from  New  York  to  Los  Angeles.  At  that  time  I  had  not  been 
paid  for  my  services  to  the  company  ;  on  the  contrary,  while  a  sufficient 
amount  of  money  had  usually  been  forthcoming  to  pay  the  monthly 
bills,  when  I  disbanded  the  engineering  forces  in  June,  1893,  I  was 
obliged  to  pay  part  of  the  men  from  my  own  funds,  and  at  the  time  of 
Mr.  Beatty's  visit  to  Los  Angeles  in  1894,  I  had  not  succeeded  in  getting 
a  refund  of  this  money.  Consequently,  I  told  Mr.  Beatty  that  as  other 
creditors  had  not  been  paid  that  I  proposed  to  bring  suit  quietly  in 
order  to  gain  legal  possession  of  all  the  surveys  and  engineering  equip- 
ment in  order  that  it  might  not  be  scattered  among  various  creditors 
and  its  value  rendered  largely  nil.  I  told  Beatty  it  would  be  useless  for 
him  to  defend  it  and  that  I  would  give  them  six  months  if  I  obtained 
possession  of  the  property  in  which  to  redeem  it.  He  agreed  to  this  and 
left  Los  Angeles  for  the  City  of  Mexico  to  obtain,  as  he  said,  the1  right 
from  the  Mexican  government  to  carry  his  proposed  canal  through 
Lower  California  in  spite  of  the  opposition  of  General  Andrade.  Mr. 
Beatty,  at  this  time,  was  practically  broke,  as  I  judged  from  the  fact 
that  notwithstanding  he  had  on  a  new  suit  and  looked  as  if  he  had  come 
from  a  tailor's  shop.  I  unfortunately  accompanied  him  as  far  as  Yuma 
on  this  trip,  and  when,  after  getting  his  supper  at  the  station,  he  put  his 
foot  on  the  car  step,  he  turned  to  me  and  said :  "By  the  way,  Rockwood, 
I  believe  I  am  a  little  short  of  cash.  I  will  get  plenty  in  El  Paso.  Let  me 
have  ten  dollars  until  I  get  there  when  I  will  return  it."  I  did  this  and 
I  have  never  seen  the  ten  dollars  since,  although  Mr.  Beatty  did  succeed 
in  raising  $100  in  El  Paso  by  getting  a  stranger  to  cash  a  sight  draft  on 
the  Colorado  River  Irrigation  Company  of  New  York  for  that  amount. 
At  that  time,  the  Colorado  Irrigation  Company  did  not  have  a  dollar  in 
its  treasury,  nor  did  it  have  a  treasurer.  After  Beatty  got  his  hundred 
dollars  he  went  to  Mexico.  There,  notwithstanding  the  fact  that  he 
spoke  the  language  fluently,  and  had  many  acquaintances  in  the  city,  he 
fell  into  financial  depths  to  such  an  extent  that  he  was  unable  to  pull 
himself  out  and  get  away  from  the  country  until  his  son  Herbert,  a 


EARLY  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY  IOI 

young  man  then  in  his  twenty-first  year,  sent  him  $250  from  Providence, 
Rhode  Island,  and  told  his  father  to  get  back  to  Providence  as  soon  as 
possible  as  they  could  raise  all  the  money  they  required  there. 

The  $250  which  Herbert  sent  to  his  father  in  Mexico  was  half  of 
$500  which  he  succeeded  in  borrowing  from  a  man  by  the  name  of 
Green,  living  in  Providence,  Rhode  Island.  This  man  Green,  Beatty  had 
met  at  Chicago  during  the  world's  fair  the  previous  year,  and  having 
at  that  time  discussed  the  possibilities  of  the  Colorado  River  project 
with  him,  had  gone  to  Providence  to  see  if  he  could  obtain  any  funds 
from  him. 

Beatty  returned  from  Mexico  to  Providence  in  July,  1894.  I  went 
east  from  California  in  the  same  month,  and  having  interested  myself 
with  General  Andrade  and  believing  that  it  would  be  impossible  for 
Beatty  to  carry  out  any  scheme  of  irrigation,  I  went  to  Scotland  in  Sep- 
tember of  that  year  in  order  to  see  a  syndicate  of  Glasgow  and  Edin- 
burgh men  who  held  an  option  from  Andrade  on  all  of  his  lands  in 
Lower  California.  My  desire  was  to  see  if  I  could  not  induce  these  men 
to  raise  the  necessary  capital  to  carry  out  the  project  and  to  join  the 
Lower  California  lands  with  those  north  of  the  line  and  finance  the 
whole  thing  as  a  complete  project,  but  very  much  to  my  disgust  I  found 
that  these  Scotch  people  were  all  interested  in  the  coal  trade ;  that  coal 
had  taken  a  tremendous  slump  in  a  few  months  previous,  and  that  these 
men  were  so  financially  stricken  that  they  could  do  nothing ;  they  would 
not,  however,  agree  to  give  up  their  option  except  at  a  very  high  figure. 
Consequently,  I  was  obliged  to  wait  until  the  expiration  of  this  option, 
which  was  to  take  place  on  the  15th  day  of  May,  1905. 

I  returned  from  Europe  in  October,  1894,  and  found  a  letter  waiting 
me  at  my  hotel  in  New  York  from  John  C.  Beatty  urging  me  to  visit 
him  in  Providence,  Rhode  Island,  before  I  returned  to  California.  I  de- 
cided to  do  so  and  went  to  Providence.  Mr.  Beatty,  who,  you  will  re- 
member, was  broke  in  Mexico  City  in  July  of  the  same  year,  met  me 
at  the  train  and  insisted  that  I  should  go  to  his  house  instead  of  a  hotel, 
and  I  accepted  his  invitation.  He  took  me  to  one  of  the  suburbs  of  Prov- 
idence, the  old  village  of  Pawtuxet,  and  to  a  beautiful  old  colonial 
house  situated  in  ten  acres  of  ground  sloping  down  to  Naragansett  Bay. 
The  property,  which  I  can  readily  believe  had  originally  cost  over  $50,- 
000,  had  been  repainted,  replumbed,  green  houses  rebuilt,  solid  marble 


102  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

washstands  with  silver  trimmings  put  in  every  bedroom,  and  two  new 
bathrooms  had  been  built.  I  looked  at  Beatty  in  astonishment.  The  only 
explanation  he  would  give  me  was  that  he  had  come  to  the  conclusion 
that  in  order  to  raise  money  in  Providence  it  was  necessary  to  be  one  of 
the  people  and  not  a  carpet-bagger,  and  for  that  reason  he  had  pur- 
chased this  place  from  the  noted  evangelist,  Rev.  B.  Fay  Mills.  I  discov- 
ered afterward  that  the  only  money  that  the  Rev.  B.  Fay  Mills  had  re- 
ceived from  Mr.  Beatty  was  the  sum  of  $500,  payable  on  account  of 
purchase,  the  remainder  to  be  paid  after  Mr.  Beatty  had  examined  the 
records,  but  unfortunately  Mr.  Mills  had  given  Beatty  possession.  The 
$500  which  he  paid  Mills  had  been  borrowed  from  this  same  Nathaniel 
Green.  Of  all  the  bills,  plumbers',  carpenters',  painters',  bills  for  furni- 
ture and  dishes,  I  was  told  that  not  one  had  been  paid,  and  that  Beatty 
had  succeeded  in  paying  the  workmen  in  notes  so  it  was  impossible  for 
them  to  get  a  lien  on  any  of  the  property. 

Beatty  had  a  thousand  dollar  piano  in  the  house  on  which  he  had  paid 
nothing.  One  of  his  daughters,  who  was  a  fine  musician,  played  for  me 
in  the  evening.  I  noticed  that  she  had  but  a  few  sheets  of  music  and  I 
afterwards  discovered  that  all  of  her  music  was  in  her  trunks  and  that 
the  trunks  of  the  entire  family  were  then  being  held  in  the  Murray  Hill 
Hotel  in  New  York  for  non-payment  of  bills. 

When  I  landed  in  Providence  in  October,  1894,  at  Beatty's  request, 
he  first  took  me  out  to  his  house  where  I  remained  over  night  and  the 
next  morning  he  took  me  to  his  offices  down  town.  His  offices  were,  at 
that  time,  in  the  finest  building  in  the  town  ;'he  took  me  to  the  topi  floor 
of  the  building,  where  I  found  he  had  a  suite  of  six  magnificent  rooms 
most  beautifully  furnished ;  he  had  four  stenographers  employed  and, 
wonderful  to  say,  he  had  his  showcases  and  tables  filled  with  oranges, 
lemons,  bananas,  figs,  apricots,  all  products  of  the  Colorado  Desert, 
which,  at  that  time,  was  producing  nothing  but  a  few  horned  toads  and 
once  in  a  while  a  coyote. 

He  also  had  in  Providence  six  agents  at  work  who  were  rapidly 
bringing  in  the  coin,  because  it  was  afterward  discovered  in  a  suit 
brought  against  Beatty  and  his  company  that  he  had  obtained  from  the 
people  of  Providence  between  his  coming  there  in  the  latter  end  of  July 
and  this  time,  which  was  about  the  middle  of  October,  something  over 
$35,000,  in  cash;  notwithstanding  the  fact  that  his  cousin,  James  H. 


EARLY  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY  103 

Beatty,  had  succeeded  in  getting  an  injunction  preventing  him  from 
selling  any  of  the  stock  of  the  Colorado  River  Irrigation  Company. 
Beatty  had  obeyed  this  injunction,  but,  under  a  technicality,  had  imme- 
diately turned  around  and  sold  his  own  private  stock  in  the  company ; 
consequently,  the  money,  instead  of  being  property  of  the  company,  was 
his  own  property  and  was  evidently  devoted  to  his  personal  uses. 

Beatty  desired  me  to  remain  in  Providence  in  order  to  help  him  fi- 
nance his  scheme.  He  assured  me  that  he  had  men  in  tow  who,  if  every- 
thing could  be  shown  up  to  them  to  be  all  right,  would  put  up  all  of  the 
money  that  was  necessary  to  carry  the  enterprise  through,  but  I  refused 
to  join  Beatty  in  his  proposition  unless  he  would  put  the  enterprise  in 
what  I  considered  an  honest  business  shape,  which  was  to  throw  out  his 
entire  basis  of  capitalization.  His  Colorado  River  Irrigation  Company 
was  capitalized  for  seven  and  a  half  millions,  which  was  based  at  $5.00 
an  acre  upon  one  and  a  half  million  acres  of  land  wholly  in  Sonora, 
which  lands  were  not  worth  two  cents  an  acre  and  never  could  be  made 
worth  any  more,  and  which  had  no  more  connection  with  the  enterprise 
of  the  Colorado  Irrigation  Company  than  if  they  had  been  situated  in 
Alaska ;  but  if  Beatty  were  to  abandon  these  lands  as  a  basis  of  his  capi- 
talization, he  would  have  no  reason  or  excuse  for  holding  the  control  of 
the  stock  of  the  company — consequently  he  refused  absolutely  to  con- 
sider the  reorganization  and  a  decrease  in  the  capitalization  of  the  com- 
pany. I  declined  then  to  have  anything  whatever  to  do  with  him  and 
came  to  California. 

After  I  had  notified  Mr.  Beatty  in  March,  1894,  that  I  should  bring 
suit  to  secure  myself  against  other  creditors,  as  well  as  to  secure  the 
company,  I  brought  suit  both  in  Los  Angeles  and  in  Yuma,  Arizona,  as 
the  property  was  at  that  time  partially  in  Arizona  and  partially  in  Los 
Angeles,  and  succeeded  by  means  of  the  suit,  in  obtaining  legal  posses- 
sion of  all  the  personal  properties. 

Later,  I  believe  it  was  in  the  winter  of  1895,  Mr.  Beatty,  who  had  not 
yet  given  up  his  attempts  and  his  hopes  to  carry  out  the  Colorado  River 
enterprise,  attempted  to  buy  back  from  me  the  properties  which  I  had 
acquired  under  the  judgment  and  offered  me  water  rights  in  the  Colo- 
rado Desert  on  the  basis  of  $10  an  acre  for  the  entire  amount  of  my 
judgment.  When  I  pointed  out  to  him  that  I  already  owned  water  rights 
covering  at  least  600,000  acres,  that  all  that  was  necessary  for  me  to  do 


104 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


to  make  these  rights  good  was  to  construct  canals  and  take  water  to  the 
land,  Mr.  Beatty  became  generous  and  offered  to  reduce  his  price  of 
$10  for  water  rights  to  $5,  but  this  offer  I  declined. 

Coming  to  California  in  October,  I  went  to  Bakersfield  to  call  upon 
Mr.  Ferguson,  who,  as  I  have  stated,  was  the  manager  of  the  Kern 
County  Land  Company,  and  who  had  carried  through  large  projects.  He 
had  been  connected  with  the  Southern  Pacific  Railway  Company  in  va- 
rious land  enterprises,  and  has  spent  much  time  in  Europe  in  connection 
with  the  enterprise  of  the  Kern  County  Land  Company,  and  I  believed 
him  to  be  best  constituted  by  his  experience  and  ability  to  assist  me  in 
the  work  of  raising  funds  for  the  development  of  the  Colorado  Desert 
enterprise  should  the  time  arrive  when  I  could  take  that  work  up.  I  be- 
lieved that  that  time  would  come  as  soon  as  the  option  held  by  the  Glas- 
gow people  had  expired  on  the  Andrade  lands. 

I  had,  at  this  time,  very  little  faith  in  my  own  ability  as  a  financier  or 
promoter.  All  of  the  years  of  my  life  up  to  this  time  had  been  spent  in 
the  interest  of  the  two  or  three  corporations  by  whom  I  had  been  em- 
ployed in  technical  engineering  work.  I  had  not  come  in  contact  with 
the  business  world  nor  with  business  men  and  I  felt  that  it  was  neces- 
sary for  me  to  join  with  myself  some  man  who  had,  in  experience,  that 
which  I  lacked. 

I  succeeded  in  interesting  Mr.  Ferguson  so  that  when  the  Glasgow 
option  expired  on  the  Andrade  lands  on  the  15th  of  May,  1895,  I  imme- 
diately secured  from  General  Andrade  on  the  payment  of  $5000  another 
option  for  myself  and  associates  covering  the  lands  or  a  portion  of  the 
lands  in  Lower  California.  Mr.  Ferguson  then  severed  his  connection 
with  the  Kern  County  Land  Company  and  joined  me  in  the  promotion 
of  the  new  enterprise.  The  five  thousand  dollars  mentioned  which  I  paid 
Andrade  at  this  time  was  furnished  by  my  friend,  Dr.  W.  T.  Heffernan, 
who  had  told  me  some  time  previous  during  the  Beatty  regime,  that  he 
believed  in  the  enterprise  and  would  like  to  invest  money  in  it.  I  told 
the  doctor,  without  explaining  fully  my  ideas  of  John  C.  Beatty,  to  keep 
his  money  in  his  pocket  until  I  told  him  to  bring  it  forth,  which  he  did. 

At  this  time  I  had  decided  that  as  the  Denver  corporation  with  its 
promised  millions  was  not  back  of  me,  and  that  the  proposition  would 
require  very  much  less  money  and  consequently  would  be  easier  to  fi- 
nance if  the  water,  instead  of  being  taken  out  at  the  Pot  Holes,  should  be 


EARLY  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY  105 

taken  from  the  Colorado  River  on  the  property  of  Hall  Hanlon,  imme- 
diately above  the  international  line  between  Mexico  and  the  United 
States.  After  acquiring  the  Andrade  option,  negotiations  were  opened 
with  Hanlon  for  the  purchase  of  his  318  acres  of  sand  hills  and  rocks ; 
but  very  much  to  our  chagrin  we  found  that  Mr.  Hanlon  realized  fully 
that  he  held  the  key  to  the  situation  and  that  instead  of  being  able  to 
purchase  his  property  for  possibly  two  thousand  dollars,  which  was  far 
in  excess  of  its  value  for  agricultural  purposes,  that  he  had  fixed  the  price 
at  $20,000,  and  to  this  price  we  finally  had  to  accede  and  paid  him  $2000 
on  account.  This  $2000  was  also  furnished  by  Dr.  W.  T.  Heffernan, 
without  whose  financial  assistance  at  this  time,  and  for  several  years 
afterward,  it  would  have  been  utterly  impossible  for  me  to  have  car- 
ried on  the  work  of  promotion.  To  Dr.  Heffernan,  his  steadfast  friend- 
ship for  me  personally,  and  to  his  faith  in  the  ultimate  outcome  of  the 
enterprise,  I  believe  is  largely  due  the  success  which  afterwards  accom- 
panied our  efforts,  and  to  him  is  very  largely  due  the  credit  of  bringing 
the  water  into  Imperial  Valley. 

I  presumed,  of  course,  that  Mr.  Ferguson  would  be  able  to  secure  all 
the  funds  that  would  be  required  in  very  short  time.  In  fact,  he  told  me 
so,  and  I  presume,  like  many  others,  I  am  inclined  to  take  a  man  at 
the  estimate  which  he  puts  upon  himself  until  something  proves  differ- 
ent. I  had  made  of  him  an  equal  partner,  he  putting  in  nothing,  although 
I  had  put  in  some  two  years'  labor  and  considerable  money,  togethef 
with  all  the  engineering  surveys  and  equipment,  etc.,  representing  the 
expenditure  of  over  $35,000. 

Unfortunately,  he  failed  in  his  efforts  to  secure  funds,  and  I  soon 
found  that  while  personally  to  me  he  was  a  very  delightful  friend 
and  companion,  that  his  connections  with  me  were  a  source  of  weak- 
ness instead  of  strength.  As,  for  instance,  in  the  summer  of  1894,  I  had 
several  long  talks  with  Mr.  A.  G.  Hubbard  of  Redlands  regarding  the 
enterprise.  Mr.  Hubbard  became  greatly  interested  and  promised  me 
that  as  soon  as  the  weather  cooled  in  the  latter  part  of  September  or 
October,  he  would  make  a  trip  with  me  over  the  desert,  together  with 
an  engineer  of  his  own  selection,  and  that  if  the  estimate  of  his  engineer 
did  not  more  than  twice  exceed  my  estimate,  as  to  the  amount  of  money 
that  would  be  required,  that  he  would  finance  the  enterprise.  At  the  time 
he  told  me  that  there  would  be  but  one  reason  that  might  prevent  him 


106  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

from  doing  so,  and  that  was  he  might  be  obliged  to  take  up  the  Bear 
Valley  enterprise ;  that  while  his  investment  in  the  Bear  Valley  enter- 
prise was  not  of  such  a  magnitude  but  what  he  might  lose  it  without 
crippling  himself,  that  his  pride  was  wrapped  up  in  its  success.  After- 
ward, I  think  in  August  of  that  year,  Mr.  Hubbard  met  me  in  Los  An- 
geles and  said  that  he  had  decided  to  take  up  the  Bear  Valley  propo- 
sition and  would  be  obliged  to  drop  the  Colorado  Desert  project.  Had 
Mr.  Hubbard  at  that  time  been  entirely  frank  with  me,  the  history  of 
the  enterprise  would  in  all  probability  be  a  very  different  one  from  what 
it  is  today,  for  while  he  did  take  up  the  Bear  Valley  enterprise,  a  year 
later  he  confided  to  one  of  my  associates,  Mr.  H.  W.  Blaisdell,  and  af- 
terward to  myself,  that  the  real  reason  for  his  dropping  the  enterprise 
was  less  on  account  of  his  connection  with  the  Bear  Valley  proposition 
than  for  the  reason  that  I  had  associated  myself  with  Mr.  S.  W.  Fer- 
guson and  had  made  him  the  manager,  and  from  his  knowledge  of  Mr. 
Ferguson's  management  of  the  Kern  County  Land  Company,  he  decid- 
ed that  he  did  not  care  to  be  connected  with  him.  In  answer  to  my  ques- 
tion as  to  why  he  did  not  tell  me  this  at  the  time  in  order  to  allow  me  to 
remove  Mr.  Ferguson,  he  said  that  his  only  reason  was  that  he  had 
plenty  of  money  himself  and  he  did  not  see  why  he  should  get  mixed  up 
in  a  quarrel. 

In  June,  1895,  Mr.  Ferguson  went  to  New  York  to  see  some  financial 
men  there  regarding  the  project,  but  succeeded  in  accomplishing  noth- 
ing and  returned  to  California  in  July  or  August. 

It  was  about  this  time  that  Mr.  A.  H.  Heber,  who  was  the  Chicago 
agent  of  the  Kern  County  Land  Company,  under  Mr.  Ferguson,  came 
to  California  and  Mr.  Ferguson  introduced  him  to  me  as  a  man  who 
might  be  able  to  materially  assist  us  in  securing  funds  to  carry  on  this 
work  as  well  as  in  handling  the  land  and  obtaining  colonists  in  the  fu- 
ture, but  no  connection  was  made  with  him  then.  Afterward,  in  Novem- 
ber, 1895,  both  Mr.  Ferguson  and  I  went  to  Chicago,  and  after  remain- 
ing there  for  a  few  days,  Mr.  Ferguson  went  to  New  York,  while  I  re- 
mained in  Chicago  to  get  out  the  first  prospectus  maps  which  were  being 
printed  for  us  by  Rand-MacNally. 

While  in  Chicago  on  this  trip,  I  made  Mr.  Heber's  office  my  head- 
quarters, and  becoming  better  acquainted  with  him  and  his  business 
methods,  he  impressed  me  more  favorably  than   in  my  first  interview 


EARLY  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY  107 

with  him  in  the  spring,  and  after  I  went  on  to  New  York  in  December 
and  found  that  Mr.  Ferguson  was  not  succeeding  as  I  had  hoped  in  se- 
curing funds,  we  decided  to  have  Mr.  Heber  join  us.  Heber's  connec- 
tion then  with  the  enterprise  dates  from  the  time  that  he  came  to  New 
York  to  join  Ferguson  and  myself  in  the  month  of  December,  1895. 

We  made  our  office  in  New  York  with  Herbert  Van  Valkenburg,  who 
was  one  of  the  old  stockholders  and  directors  of  John  C.  Beatty's  Colo- 
rado River  Irrigation  Company,  and  a  scion  of  a  very  wealthy  and 
prominent  New  York  family  of  bankers  and  merchants.  We  employed 
as  our  attorney  in  New  York  Mr.  E.  S.  Rapallo,  a  brother-in-law  of  Mr. 
Van  Valkenburg,  and  who  was  at  that  time,  and  is  now  (1909)  attor- 
ney for  the  Manhattan  Life  Insurance  Company,  one  of  the  attorneys 
for  the  United  States  Trust  Company,  and  one  of  the  attorneys  for  the 
Manhattan  Elevated  Railway  Company.  To  Mr.  Rapallo  we  submitted 
all  our  papers,  even  our  advertising  matter,  in  order  that  we  might  be 
assured  that  we  were  proceeding  on  strictly  legal  lines. 

Neither  Mr.  Ferguson  nor  Mr.  Heber  succeeded  in  securing  funds  or 
assurances  as  rapidly  as  we  had  hoped.  We  decided,  nevertheless,  to 
proceed  with  the  organization  of  the  company  and  that  its  name  should 
be  the  California  Development  Company.  We  perfected  the  organiza- 
tion of  the  company  on  the  26th  day  of  April,  1896. 

At  the  time  of  the  organization  of  the  company,  I  was  not  in  New 
York.  I  had  been  obliged  to  return  to  California  and  from  California  I 
had  gone  to  the  City  of  Mexico  to  obtain  from  the  Mexican  government 
certain  concessions  which  were  necessary,  and  the  company  was  organ- 
ized during  my  absence,  Mr.  Heber  being  made  president.  Neither  Mr. 
Ferguson  nor  Mr.  James  H.  Beatty,  who  at  that  time  was  an  equal 
partner  with  Ferguson  and  myself,  was  made  a  director  of  the  com- 
pany, nor  was  I,  for  the  reason  that  all  the  properties  which  we  had  ac- 
quired were  in  the  possession  of  the  three  of  us,  and  these  properties 
were  afterward  sold  to  the  company,  we  taking  out  in  payment  therefor 
a  portion  of  its  capital  stock,  which  stock  was  afterward  sold  or  divid- 
ed among  our  associates.  After  this  transaction  had  taken  place  both 
Mr.  Ferguson  and  myself  went  upon  the  board  of  directors,  I  becoming 
its  vice-president,  which  position  in  the  company  I  held  until  the  year 
1899,  when  I  became  the  president  of  the  company,  until  the  contract 
with  George  Chaffey  was  entered  into  in  the  year  1900  whereby  he  be- 


108  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

came  president  of  the  company,  and  I  its  vice-president  again,  but  that 
I  will  speak  of  again  in  the  future. 

While  I  was  in  the  City  of  Mexico  in  April,  1896,  I  received  word 
from  Mr.  Heber  that  he  had  succeeded  in  interesting  the  Mennonite 
Church  of  Kansas  in  the  project,  and  that  he  would  arrange  to  meet  me 
with  a  committee  of  the  Mennonites  to  go  over  the  lands  on  my  return 
from  Mexico.  I  came  from  Mexico  on  my  return  trip  in  May,  1896,  and 
at  Yuma  met  Mr.  Heber  and  three  members  of  the  church  headed  by 
the  Rev.  David  Goerz  of  Newton,  Kansas.  These  gentlemen  I  took  for 
a  trip  from  Yuma  through  Lower  California,  then  returning  to  Yuma 
shipped  a  team  from  there  to  Flowing  Well,  from  which  point  we  drove 
out  across  the  Alamo  to  very  near  the  present  site  of  the  town  of  Im- 
perial. These  men  were  very  greatly  impressed  with  the  country  and  we 
hoped  for  material  aid  from  them,  but  succeeded  in  obtaining,  I  think, 
not  exceeding  $2000,  and  the  colonists  we  expected  to  get  from  that 
source  were  not  forthcoming,  very  much  to  our  disappointment.  Mr. 
Heber  and  I  returned  east  to  Chicago  in  the  month  of  July. 

Previous  to  my  going  east  this  time  I  had  some  talk  with  Mr.  H.  W. 
Blaisdell  of  Yuma,  Arizona,  who  had  been  a  successful  mining  man  and 
at  that  time  was  largely  interested  in  development  work  in  and  around 
Yuma  and  who  had,  as  well,  an  influential  connection  in  Boston.  The 
result  of  my  talk  with  Mr.  Blaisdell  was  an  agreement  whereby  he  was 
to  undertake  to  secure  funds  for  us  in  Boston  during  the  summer.  He 
met  me  in  New  York  and  my  agreement  with  him  was  confirmed  by 
my  associates  there  and  Mr.  Blaisdell  went  on  to  Boston. 

Neither  Mr.  Ferguson  nor  Mr.  Heber  nor  I  succeeded  in  raising  any 
considerable  amount  of  money  during  the  summer.  Mr.  Blaisdell  had 
gotten  in  touch  in  Boston  with  capital  and  I  knew  from  my  talks  with 
him  that  he  could  put  in  if  necessary  a  few  thousand  of  ready  cash  to 
keep  the  machinery  moving,  but  at  this  time  Mr.  Ferguson  not  only  had 
not  raised  any  money  whatever,  but  had  succeeded  by  his  expense  ac- 
count in  largely  depleting  our  treasury,  and  neither  Mr.  Heber  nor  I 
were  willing  to  see  at  that  time  any  more  money  go  into  the  treasury 
until  a  different  arrangement  could  be  made  with  him.  He,  however, 
had  his  interest  in  the  stock  of  the  company  and  it  was  necessary  to  find 
some  purchaser  for  his  interest  before  he  could  be  successfully  elimin- 
ated. I  found  this  purchaser  in  Mr.  Blaisdell,  who  succeeded  in  raising 


EARLY  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY  109 

the  funds  necessary  to  buy  out  Mr.  Ferguson's  interest  under  a  proposal 
which  I  made  to  Ferguson.  This  was  done  in  September,  1896,  after 
which  we  put  Mr.  Heber  in  as  the  general  manager  as  well  as  president 
of  the  company,  and  Mr.  Blaisdell  came  upon  the  board  of  directors. 

Mr.  Blaisdell  was  at  this  time  negotiating  with  Mr.  H.  W.  Forbes, 
who  had  been  for  several  years  the  president  of  the  Bell  Telephone 
Company,  and  was  reputed  to  be  worth  fifteen  millions.  Mr.  Forbes  was 
very  much  enthused  over  the  project  as  outlined,  but  he  was  a  man  well 
along  in  years  and  desired  the  enterprise  not  so  much  for  himself  as  for 
his  two  sons  who  had  just  left  college  and  desired  to  come  west'. 

The  result  of  the  negotiations  with  Mr.  Forbes  was  that  he  agreed  to 
put  up  the  required  capital  for  the  development  of  the  enterprise,  pro- 
viding that  the  report  of  the  engineer  he  should  send  to  make  an  exam- 
ination was  entirely  satisfactory.  The  specific  agreement  at  that  time 
was  that  if  the  report  of  his  engineer  disputed  any  of  the  material  state- 
ments in  our  prospectus,  which  had  been  written  by  myself,  that  we 
would  pay  the  cost  of  the  report ;  otherwise  Mr.  Forbes  was  to  pay  for 
the  report. 

When  these  negotiations  were  concluded,  I  was  in  California,  where  I 
had  been  obliged  to  come  in  order  to  make  a  new  contract,  if  possible, 
with  General  Andrade,  for  the  reason  that  we  were  unable  to  make  the 
payment  to  the  general  in  accordance  with  the  old  contract,  and  I  de- 
sired to  make  a  new  contract  before  the  old  one  should  become  void  by 
the  expiration  of  the  time  limit.  This  I  finally,  after  some  trouble,  suc- 
ceeded in  doing.  The  general  was  loath  to  enter  into  another  agreement 
as  a  year  and  a  half  had  now  elapsed  since  the  time  that  he  had  given 
me  the  first  option  and  he  was  beginning  to  doubt  the  success  of  my 
efforts.  I,  however,  did  succeed  finally  in  making  a  contract  which  re- 
duced our  option  from  350,000  acres  of  land  to  the  100,000  acres  after- 
ward purchased  by  the  company. 

While  in  California,  I  received  a  telegram  from  Mr.  Blaisdell  that 
Mr.  George  W.  Anderson  of  Denver,  the  engineer  selected  by  Mr. 
Forbes  to  examine  the  project,  would  meet  me  at  Yuma  on  a  certain 
date.  I  met  Mr.  Anderson  at  Yuma,  in  October,  1896,  and  went  with 
him  over  the  territory  and  over  all  our  plans  and  profiles.  He  then  re- 
turned to  Denverwhile  I  proceeded  to  the  City  of  Mexico  to  put  up  a  few 
fences  there  that  were  somewhat  broken  down,  and  returned  from  the 


HO  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

City  of  Mexico  direct  to  New  York  in  November,  1896,  expecting,  of 
course,  as  I  knew  the  enthusiasm  of  Mr.  Anderson  over  the  project, 
that  all  that  I  would  have  to  do  would  be  to  go  to  Boston,  perfect  the 
arrangements  with  Mr.  Forbes,  and  then  return  to  active  construction 
work  on  the  desert. 

When  I  reached  Boston  Mr.  Anderson's  report  was  there  and  was 
all  that  could  have  been  hoped  for  ;  in  fact,  his  report  was  more  glowing 
than  the  statements  made  in  our  prospectus ;  but  while  Mr.  Forbes  paid 
for  the  report  in  accordance  with  the  contract  and  afterward  turned  it 
over  to  us  to  be  used  as  we  might  see  fit,  he  did  not  take  up  the  enter- 
prise ;  the  reason  that  he  gave  was  the  state  of  his  health,  while  I  knew 
that  the  real  reason  of  his  desiring  to  go  into  the  enterprise  in  the  first 
place  was  for  the  benefit  of  his  sons.  I  doubted  somewhat  this  state- 
ment, but  never  received  proof  that  the  statement  given  by  him  was  not 
entirely  correct  until  his  death  four  months  afterward,  when  I  was  told 
by  one  of  his  most  intimate  friends  that  the  real  reason  why  Forbes  did 
not  take  up  the  enterprise  was  that  at  the  time  he  sent  Mr.  Anderson  to 
make  his  examination  he  also  wrote  a  letter  to  a  close  personal  friend 
of  his  in  San  Diego  regarding  the  possibilities  of  development  in  the 
Colorado  Desert,  and  received  word  in  reply  that  the  project  was  wild 
and  utterly  unfeasible ;  that  the  country  was  so  hot  that  no  white  man 
could  possibly  live  in  it ;  that  the  lands  were  absolutely  barren,  consist- 
ing of  nothing  but  sand  and  alkali ;  and  that  any  man  who  was  foolish 
enough  to  put  a  dollar  into  that  enterprise  would  surely  lose  it.  I  at- 
tempted to  find  out  the  name  of  Mr.  Forbes'  San  Diego  correspondent. 
I  have  been  trying  all  these  years  to  find  out  the  name  of  that  man,  but 
so  far  have  failed.  I  still  have  hopes  to  meet  him. 

We  were  all,  of  course,  very  greatly  disappointed  by  this  failure.  Mr. 
Blaisdell  remained  there  during  the  winter,  but  had  to  leave  in  order  to 
take  up  his  Yuma  work  in  the  spring.  I  remained  most  of  that  time  in 
Boston,  Mr.  Heber  being  in  New  York ;  in  fact  I  remained  in  Boston 
until  August  of  the  year  1897.  During  the  summer  of  that  year  I  spent 
the  months  of  June  and  July  in  one  of  the  Boston  hospitals  with  the  ty- 
phoid fever,  but  on  my  recovery  I  decided  to  make  a  trip  to  Europe  in 
order  to  see  if  I  could  interest  capital  there. 

On  the  trip  I  had  letters  of  introduction  to  various  financial  men  of 
London,  Scotland  and  Switzerland.  I  particularly  desired  to  interest  a 


EARLY  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY  III 

firm  of  brokers  in  Glasgow  who  had  been  instrumental  in  furnishing 
funds  for  two  irrigation  enterprises  in  the  northwest,  but  in  as  much  as 
these  enterprises  had  failed  from  the  point  of  view  of  the  foreign  in- 
vestor, I  found  that  to  interview  them  on  the  subject  was  like  shaking  a 
red  flag  before  a  bull  and  that  nothing  could  be  accomplished.  I  then 
visited  the  home  of  a  banker  in  the  interior  of  Scotland,  to  whom  I  had 
personal  letters  from  Mr.  D.  I.  Russell,  but  on  leaving  the  train  at  his 
town  and  inquiring  for  his  residence,  was  shocked  to  learn  that  he  had 
been  found  dead  that  morning,  drowned  in  a  little  stream  that  flowed 
behind  his  house.  I  then  returned  to  London  expecting  to  leave  at  once 
for  Basle,  Switzerland,  to  take  up  negotiations  with  a  gentleman  there 
who  had  succeeded  in  financing  two  American  enterprises  of  a  similar 
nature,  and  from  whom  I  have  received  letters  previously  that  led  me 
to  hope  that  the  money  necessary  for  the  development  of  our  enter- 
prises could  be  found  there.  In  reply  to  a  telegram  to  ascertain  if  he 
could  meet  me  on  a  certain  date,  I  received  word  that  he  had  died  two 
weeks  previously. 

I  had  in  London  met  a  firm  of  brokers  who  had  years  previously  been 
somewhat  connected  with  Mr.  Heber  in  some  of  his  operations  in  Kan- 
sas, and  to  whom  Mr.  Heber  had  given  me  letters  of  introduction. 
These  gentlemen  became  so  much  interested  in  the  proposition  that,  al- 
though I  decided  for  several  reasons  to  return  to  America,  I  left  them 
working  on  it.  Afterwards  we  received  communications  from  them  that 
led  both  Mr.  Heber  and  myself  to  believe  that  the  money  could  be  se- 
cured through  this  source,  but  in  the  meantime  I  had  opened  negotia- 
tions for  the  funds  required  with  Silas  B.  Dutcher,  president  of  the 
Hamilton  Trust  Company,  of  Brooklyn,  N.  Y.  Mr.  Dutcher  made  a  very 
careful  examination  of  the  enterprise  extending  over  several  weeks.  It 
was  passed  upon  by  his  attorneys  and  engineers  and  finally,  on  the  14th 
of  February,  1898,  Mr.  Dutcher  said  to  me:  "Everything  is  all  right, 
Mr.  Rockwood.  I  have  talked  the  matter  over  since  obtaining  the  re- 
ports of  our  attorneys  and  engineers  with  the  controlling  directors  of 
the  trust  company,  who  agree  with  me  that  it  will  be  advisable  for  us  to 
advance  you  the  money,  and,  under  the  agreement  outlined  between  us, 
we  will  put  up  the  funds.  It  will  be  necessary,  however,  that  our  board 
shall  formally  agree  to  this,  and  this  final  formality  will  be  gone  through 
at  our  board  meeting  on  Friday." 


112  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

At  this  time  our  treasury  was  empty,  both  Mr.  Heber  and  myself  had 
exhausted  our  private  funds  and  we  were  exceedingly  economical  in 
our  table,  but  I  was  so  rejoiced  at  the  decision  of  Dutcher,  and,  believ- 
ing without  doubt  that  our  financial  troubles  were  over  for  the  present, 
that  I  went  back  to  New  York  and  invited  Heber  out  to  a  square  meal,  on 
which  I  think  I  spent  at  least  one  dollar.  The  next  morning,  however,  we 
were  confronted  by  glaring  headlines  that  the  Maine  had  been  sunk  the 
night  previous  in  Havana  harbor.  I  went  over  immediately  to  see  Mr. 
Dutcher  in  order  to  ascertain  what  effect  this  might  have  upon  our  ne- 
gotiations and  found,  as  supposed,  that  the  deal  was  off. 

On  account  of  the  period  of  depression  which  then  followed  it  was 
absolutely  impossible  to  interest  any  large  financial  men  in  the  enter- 
prise, and  it  was  with  exceeding  difficulty  that  we  got  together  sufficient 
funds  to  keep  up  our  payment  to  Gen.  Andrade  and  to  keep  our  office 
doors  open.  We  did,  however,  succeed  in  doing  this,  and  later,  in  the 
summer  of  this  year,  we  found  it  had  again  become  necessary  to  make  a 
new  contract  with  Gen.  Andrade  for  the  reason  that  the  old  one  was 
about  to  expire,  and,  as  usual,  I  was  deputized  to  obtain  the  new  agree- 
ment, but  before  getting  this  agreement,  it  was  deemed  necessary  for 
me  to  make  a  trip  to  the  City  of  Mexico,  and  I  left  New  York  imme- 
diately before  the  beginning  of  war  with  Spain  on  the  steamer  Yucatan 
for  Vera  Cruz  by  way  of  Havana.  As  we  were  expecting  war  to  be  de- 
clared every  day,  people  were  loath  to  leave  New  York  for  Havana, 
and  I  remember  there  were  only  two  other  passengers  on  the  steamer 
from  New  York,  one  of  whom  was  interested  in  Havana,  the  other  was 
going  to  the  City  of  Mexico.  We  reached  and  left  Havana,  however, 
without  mishap,  although  when  we  arrived  there  we  were  forbidden  to 
land.  All  the  Americans  had  left  with  the  exception  of  Consul  Gen. 
Lee,  who,  I  believe,  left  the  city  three  days  afterward. 

It  was  on  this  trip  to  the  City  of  Mexico  that  I  found  it  necessary  to 
organize  the  Sociedad  de  Terrenos  y  Irrigacion  de  la  Baja  California, 
now  generally  known  to  the  people  of  the  Imperial  Valley  as  the  Mexi- 
can company.  The  prevailing  idea  among  the  people  is  that  this  Mexican 
company  was  organized  by  the  California  Development  Company  as  an 
inner  ring  for  some  ulterior  purposes  that  might  make  the  legal  posi- 
tion of  the  California  Development  Company  stronger  as  against  any 
actions  in  the  courts  of  the  United  States.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  this 


EARLY  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


"3 


company  was  organized  for  the  purpose  of  holding  title  to  the  lands  in 
Lower  California  which  had  been  purchased  from  Gen.  Andrade  by 
those  interested  in  the  California  Development  Company. 

T  had  attempted  for  two  years  with  the  help  of  Gen.  Andrade  and 
our  attorneys  in  Mexico  to  obtain  the  right  from  the  Mexican  govern- 
ment for  the  California  Development  Company  to  hold  these  titles,  but 
the  decision  of  the  Mexican  officials  and  courts  were  finally  against  us, 
and  it  was  on  the  advice  of  our  attorneys  in  the  City  of  Mexico  that  it 
would  be  absolutely  necessary  to  hold  title  to  these  lands  in  a  Mexican 
company  that  the  Mexican  company  was  formed. 

After  perfecting  this  organization,  I  went  from  the  City  of  Mexico 
to  Los  Angeles  in  order  to  take  up  with  Gen.  Andrade  the  question  of  a 
new  contract,  but  found  that  I  was  up  against  a  stone  wall ;  the  gen- 
eral positively  refused  not  only  to  grant  my  extension  on  the  old  con- 
tract, but  refused  as  well  to  enter  into  a  new  one  unless  I  should  advance 
to  him  a  sum  of  money  which  was  absolutely  beyond  my  power  to  pro- 
duce. I  attempted  to  argue  with  the  general  that  he  was  working  against 
his  own  interests,  but  it  seemed  he  had  lost  entire  confidence  in  the  abil- 
ity of  myself  and  associates  to  carry  through  the  enterprise  and  seemed 
to  be  absolutely  fixed  in  his  determination  to  grant  no  further  conces- 
sions. As  I  knew,  however,  that  our  ability  to  carry  through  the  enter- 
prise depended  upon  my  ability  to  obtain  possession  of  the  Mexican 
lands  and  through  them  the  right  of  way,  I  insisted  that  Gen.  Andrade 
should  make  a  new  deal  with  me,  and  it  became  largely  a  question  of 
will  power,  as  the  general  remained  fixed  in  his  determination  to  grant 
no  further  concessions.  I  believe  it  took  me  about  ninety  days  to  obtain 
the  new  contract  that  meant  the  continuation  of  the  life  of  the  enter- 
prise, during  which  time  I  went  to  Gen.  Andrade's  office  or  to  his  hotel 
every  day,  until  I  verily  believe  he  was  forced  to  give  me  what  I  asked 
in  order  to  get  rid  of  me ;  at  any  rate  he  has  so  stated  since,  but  was 
gracious  enough  long  before  his  death  to  tell  me  that  it  was  exceedingly 
fortunate  for  him  that  I  was  so  persistent. 

Having  made  the  new  arrangement  with  Andrade,  I  returned  to  New 
York,  and,  the  correspondence  from  Tyndall  &  Monk,  of  London,  the 
brokers  to  whom  I  previously  referred,  being  of  a  nature  which  led  Mr. 
Heber  and  myself  to  believe  that  these  gentlemen  were  going  to  be  able 
to  furnish  us  with  the  funds,  I  immediately  took  steamer  for  London. 


U4  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

This,  I  believe,  was  in  September,  1898.  After  seeing  the  brokers  in 
London  and  being  assured  by  them  that  they  would  be  able  to  furnish 
the  money  under  certain  conditions,  I  wired  Mr.  Heber  to  come  on  to 
London,  and  on  his  arrival  we  proceeded  to  draw  up  the  form  of  bond 
and  trust  deed  which,  under  the  English  procedure,  required  a  very 
long  time  and  was  also  exceedingly  expensive.  Having,  however,  gotten 
the  work  well  under  way,  Mr.  Heber  returned  to  New  York  in  Novem- 
ber of  that  year  and  I  followed  in  December  in  order  to  perfect  certain 
details  in  California  that  were  necessary  for  the  assurance  of  the  pro- 
posed English  investors. 

We  supposed  that  everything  was  assured,  but  for  some  reason  that 
I  have  never  as  yet  been  able  to  ascertain,  that  deal  fell  through,  and  in 
such  a  manner  that  we  knew  it  was  utterly  useless  to  attempt  to  obtain 
any  further  assistance  from  the  firm  of  Tyndall  &  Monk ;  consequently 
our  efforts  were  again  devoted  toward  the  obtaining  of  funds  in  Amer- 
ica. 

We  were  now  in  the  spring  of  1899,  our  funds  were  exhausted  and 
we  hardly  knew  which  way  to  turn.  I  was  born  in  Michigan  and  had 
several  wealthy  and  influential  acquaintances  in  Detroit  and  its  neigh- 
borhood, and  Heber  and  I  thought  it  best  that  I  should  visit  Detroit 
and  see  what  might  be  done  there  toward  obtaining  funds,  but  at  this 
time  we  had  no  money  with  which  to  pay  my  traveling  expenses  until 
Mr.  Heber  solved  the  problem  by  raising  $125  on  his  personal  jewelry 
and  gave  me  $100  of  it  with  which  to  make  the  trip. 

In  the  troubles  that  arose  between  Mr.  Heber  and  myself  afterward 
this  act  has  never  been  forgotten,  and  one  of  the  greatest  regrets  of  my 
life  is  that  the  ties  of  friendship  with  one  capable  of  such  self-sacri- 
ficing generosity  should  be  strained  and  broken. 

In  Detroit  I  succeeded  in  obtaining  funds  to  the  amount  of  a  few 
hundred  only,  sufficient  only  to  keep  up  our  living  expenses  and  to  keep 
our  office  rent  in  New  York  paid. 

Mr.  Heber,  at  this  time,  met  in  New  York  a  friend  from  Chicago  who 
had  advanced  him  some  money,  and  had  succeeded  in  inducing  Heber 
to  return  with  him  to  Chicago  on  the  belief  that  money  might  be  ob- 
tained there  to  carry  out  the  enterprise ;  so  Heber  left  New  York  for 
Chicago  in  the  month  of  June,  1899,  calling  upon  me  in  Detroit  on  his 
way  through.  His  Chicago  efforts,  however,  were  not  immediately  sue- 


EARLY  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


"5 


cessful,  and  just  at  this  time  I  received  a  telegram  from  Ford  &  Com- 
pany, bankers  of  Boston,  asking  me  if  I  would  go  to  Porto  Rico  to  re- 
port upon  a  sugar  proposition  which  they  owned  there.  They  had  de- 
cided to  build  a  system  of  irrigation  for  their  plantations  and  desired  my 
report  upon  the  feasibility  of  the  plans  of  their  engineer.  They  wired 
me  that  if  I  would  go  they  would  wire  me  money  to  come  on  to  Boston 
and  talk  the  matter  over  with  them.  As  I  was  practically  broke  at  the 
time,  I  immediately  agreed  to  go,  and  received  in  reply  sufficient  funds 
to  make  the  trip  from  Detroit  to  Boston. 

I  proceeded  immediately  to  Boston  and  made  my  financial  arrange- 
ments with  Ford  &  Company,  who  advanced  me,  in  addition  to  my 
steamer  transportation,  a  check  for  $250.  I  was  loath  to  accept  the 
check  in  lieu  of  cash  (although  I  didn't  say  so  to  them)  as  it  was  after 
banking  hours  in  Boston  and  I  could  not  get  the  check  cashed  until  I 
had  reached  New  York,  at  which  point  I  was  to  take  steamer,  and  I 
doubted  very  much  whether  I  would  have  sufficient  money  to  pay  my 
expenses  through.  I  did,  however,  succeed  in  reaching  New  York  that 
night,  but  was  obliged  to  wait  my  breakfast  the  next  morning  until  I 
could  get  Ford  &  Company's  check  cashed. 

I  left  this  same  day  for  Porto  Rico  by  steamer,  and  after  spending  a 
couple  of  weeks  on  the  plantation  of  Ford  &  Company,  who,  by  the 
way,  were  the  financial  agents  for  the  United  States  Government  in  the 
island,  I  left  the  plantations,  which  were  on  the  southern  side  of  the 
island,  for  the  city  of  San  Juan  on  the  northern  side  in  order  to  take 
the  steamer  again  for  New  York.  On  my  way  across  the  island  I  de- 
cided to  remain  a  couple  of  days  in  the  town  of  Cayay  to  examine  into 
a  water  proposition  in  that  neighborhood  that  might  be  of  interest  to 
my  Boston  clients.  It  was  there,  on  the  night  of  August  7,  1899,  that  I 
experienced  my  first  and  only  West  Indian  hurricane,  which  probably 
many  people  of  this  country  still  remember.  In  the  small  hotel  where  I 
was  stopping  my  sleeping  room  was  immediately  off  of  the  main  living 
room.  I  was  awakened  about  three  o'clock  in  the  morning  by  the  rock- 
ing of  the  house  and  by  the  sound  of  weeping  women  and  children  in 
the  outer  room.  Hurriedly  dressing,  I  went  to  the  outer  room,  and  upon 
making  inquiries  as  to  the  cause  of  the  trouble,  I  found  that  I  was  in 
the  beginning  of  what  afterward  proved  to  be  the  most  disastrous  hur- 
ricane that  had  visited  the  islands  for  a  period  of  over  two  hundred 


n6  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

years.  The  wind  lasted  from  about  three  in  the  morning  until  two  in  the 
afternoon,  at  the  end  of  which  time  the  mountains  surrounding  the 
town,  which  the  day  previous  had  been  a  scene  of  beauty,  covered  with 
the  vegetation  and  flowers  of  the  tropics,  were  as  brown  as  our  Califor- 
nia hills  in  summer,  and  in  Cayay,  a  town  of  1200  inhabitants,  but  six 
buildings  were  left  standing  and  but  800  people  were  left  alive.  On  the 
island  during  the  storm  over  6000  were  killed,  the  bodies  of  about  half 
of  whom  were  never  recovered,  having  been  swept  out  to  sea  or  buried 
in  the  debris  brought  down  by  the  mountain  torrents.  I  was  not  in- 
jured by  the  storm,  but  during  my  efforts  two  days  afterwards  to  reach 
San  Juan,  my  clothing  was  practically  destroyed,  so  that  I  reached  New 
York  looking  more  like  a  tramp  than  a  prosperous  promoter  of  an  irri- 
gation enterprise. 

On  my  arrival  in  New  York,  I  found  that  Mr.  Heber  was  still  in  Chi- 
cago and  that  our  New  York  office  was  being  used  by  Mr.  S.  W.  Fer- 
guson, who  had  come  to  New  York  again  on  interests  not  connected 
with  the  California  Development  Company,  but  it  seems  that  he  had 
been  discussing  the  possibilities  of  our  enterprise  with  a  New  York 
man  to  whom  he  introduced  me.  This  scheme  looked  so  favorable  that 
I  made  another  arrangement  with  Mr.  Ferguson  whereby  he  again  be- 
came associated  with  the  enterprise,  although  merely  as  an  agent  and 
not  in  a  manner  that  allowed  him  in  any  way  to  control  its  future. 

Nothing  came  of  the  Ferguson  negotiations  in  New  York,  but  hav- 
ing received  a  communication  from  Mr.  Heber  that  he  was  in  close 
touch  with  capital  in  Chicago  and  advising  me  to  come  on  to  Chicago  to 
help  him  with  his  negotiations  there,  I  suggested  that  Mr.  Ferguson  in- 
stead of  myself  should  go  on  to  Chicago,  as  I  believed  that  Ferguson 
could  possibly  render  Heber  equally  as  good  assistance  as  I,  and  Fer- 
guson desired  to  return  West  to  California  anyway,  while  at  the  time  I 
had  opened  negotiations  with  another  financial  concern  in  New  York 
and  the  outlook  was  such  that  I  deemed  it  inadvisable  to  leave. 

Mr.  Ferguson  then  went  to  Chicago,  but  nothing  came  of  these  nego- 
tiations, and  he  proceeded  to  California.  It  was  soon  after  this  that  Mr. 
Heber  gave  up  his  work  with  us,  resigning  as  president  of  the  California 
Development  Company,  to  which  position  I  was  then  elected. 

In  the  meantime  I  received  a  letter  from  Mr.  Ferguson,  who  was 
then  in  San  Francisco,  telling  me  that  he  had  had  a  long  conversation 


EARLY  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY  117 

with  Mr.  L.  M.  Holt  and  that  Holt  believed'  that  George  Chaffey 
might  be  interested  in  the  California  Development  Company.  Mr.  Fer- 
guson desired  to  go  to  Los  Angeles  and  see  Mr.  Chaffey,  and  also  re- 
quested me  to  draft  a  proposition  that  he  might  make  to  Chaffey. 

About  a  year  previous,  in  conversation  with  Mr.  N.  W.  Stowell,  of 
Los  Angeles,  he  informed  me  that  the  Chaffeys  (whom  many  people  of 
the  State  had  known  in  connection  with  irrigation  development  around 
Ontario,  and  who  had  been  for  several  years  in  similar  work  in  Aus- 
tralia), were  about  to  return  to  California,  and  that  if  I  could  interest 
the  Chaffeys  in  the  Colorado  Desert  enterprise  they  would  be  able  to 
swing  the  financial  end  of  the  affair,  even  though  they  might  not  have 
sufficient  ready  coin  themselves. 

On  a  succeeding  trip  to  California  after  this  conversation  with  Mr. 
Stowell,  I  believe  it  was  in  the  month  of  May,  1899,  I  met  Mr.  George 
Chaffey  and  discussed  very  carefully  with  him  the  plans  of  the  enter- 
prise, but  didn't  approach  him  for  financial  assistance,  as  at  that  time 
we  believed  that  we  were  going  to  obtain  all  the  funds  necessary 
through  the  agency  of  Tyndall  &  Monk,  of  London.  Having  then  al- 
ready discussed  the  project  with  Mr.  Chaffey,  I  believed  that  it  would 
be  advisable  for  Mr.  Ferguson  to  see  him,  and  so  wrote.  He  went  to 
Los  Angeles  and  as  a  result  of  his  interview  wrote  me  at  New  York, 
stating  that  negotiations  were  progressing  very  favorably  and  that  on 
certain  conditions  Chaffey  had  agreed  to  come  in,  but  refused  to  go 
any  farther  until  he  had  talked  over  matters  with  me.  On  receipt  of 
this  letter  I  decided  to  come  to  California,  and  did  so  in  December, 
1899,  and  accompanied  Mr.  Chaffey  on  a  trip  to  the  Hanlon  Heading, 
below  Yuma,  and  over  a  portion  of  the  Lower  California  end  of  the 
enterprise,  but  during  the  trip  could  see  very  plainly  that  Mr.  Chaffey 
was  not  at  all  satisfied  with  the  possibilities  of  the  enterprise,  due  to  the 
apparent  belief  in  his  mind  that  it  would  be  exceedingly  difficult,  if  not 
impossible,  to  get  settlers  with  sufficient  rapidity  to  make  the  concern  a 
financial  success. 

The  only  promise  that  I  could  obtain  from  Chaffey  was  that  if  we 
could  devise  a  scheme  whereby  he  could  receive  the  assurance  that  50,- 
000  acres  of  the  desert  land  would  be  taken  by  bona  fide  settlers,  that  he 
would  furnish  the  money  necessary  to  carry  the  water  from  the  Colo- 
rado River  to  these  lands.  I  returned  to  San  Francisco  and  discussed 


n8  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

with  Mr.  Ferguson  and  San  Francisco  attorneys  the  plan  which  was 
afterward  carried  out,  namely,  the  formation  of  a  colonization  com- 
pany which  should  undertake  to  find  settlers  to  take  up  the  desired 
acreage  under  the  Desert  Land  Act. 

At  my  solicitation  Mr.  Ferguson  returned  to  Los  Angeles  to  work 
out  the  details  of  this  plan  with  Mr.  L.  M.  Holt  and  Chaffey,  while  I 
returned  to  New  York  to  resume  again  my  negotiations  there  with  the 
financial  concern  with  which  I  had  been  dealing  for  some  time.  I  left 
with  a  promise  to  Ferguson  and  other  associates  that  I  would  return  to 
California  whenever  the  plans  which  were  outlined  gave  reasonable  as- 
surance of  success. 

In  March,  1900,  I  received  a  wire  jointly  by  Ferguson,  Blaisdell  and 
Heffernan,  requesting  me  to  return  at  once  to  California,  and  stating 
that  George  Chaffey  was  now  sufficiently  assured  so  that  he  was  willing 
to  take  up  the  work.  Upon  receiving  this  wire,  as  I  had  again  about  lost 
hope  in  my  New  York  negotiations,  I  arranged  at  once  to  close  our 
New  York  office  and  return  to  California.  Upon  reaching  Los  Angeles, 
I  found  that  Chaffey  had  drawn  a  contract  that  he  was  willing  to  enter 
into,  exceedingly  short,  promising  but  little,  and  one  that  would  tie  me 
and  the  company  to  him.  I  was  loath  to  enter  into  this  contract  but  I 
was  at  the  end  of  my  rope;  all  negotiations  had  failed  elsewhere;  all 
of  my  own  funds  as  well  as  that  of  several  of  my  personal  friends  were 
tied  up  in  the  enterprise ;  I  had  not  sufficient  money  in  sight  to  keep  up 
the  fight  elsewhere,  and  as  a  forlorn  hope  and  in  the  belief  that  it  would 
at  least  start  something  moving  whether  I  ever  got  anything  out  of  it 
for  myself  or  not,  I  agreed  to  the  Chaffey  contract  and  signed  it  as 
president  of  the  California  Development  Company  in  April,  1900. 

In  March  of  this  year  the  Imperial  Land  Company  had  been  formed 
for  the  purpose  of  undertaking  the  colonization  of  the  lands.  It  was 
necessary  to  handle  the  colonization  end  of  the  enterprise  either  as  a 
department  of  the  California  Development  Company  or  through  a  new 
organization  to  be  formed  for  that  purpose.  Four-fifths  of  the  stock  of 
the  California  Development  Company  had  been  used  for  various  pur- 
poses, the  other  one-fifth  of  the  stock,  together  with  a  portion  of  the 
stock  that  had  already  passed  to  the  then  present  stockholders,  was 
necessarily  to  be  tied  up  in  the  contract  with  the  Charley's;  consequent- 
ly there  was  no  stock  in  the  California  Development  Company  with 


EARLY  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY  119 

which  to  satisfy  Mr.  Ferguson  and  the  new  blood  that  would  be  re- 
quired to  handle  the  land  and  colonization  end  of  the  enterprise. 

Mr.  Chaffey  at  that  time  desired  to  have  nothing  to  do  with  the  land 
and  colonization  end,  consequently  it  seemed  best,  in  order  to  provide 
means  and  capital  for  the  handling  of  the  land,  to  organize  an  entirely 
separate  company.  The  Imperial  Land  Company  was  then  organized  and 
afterward  entered  into  a  contract  with  the  California  Development 
Company  whereby  it  was  to  make  all  the  necessary  land  surveys,  do 
all  of  the  advertising,  incur  all  of  the  expenses  of  colonization,  and  was 
to  receive  in  remuneration  a  certain  percentage  of  the  gross  sales  to  be 
derived  from  the  sale  of  all  water  stock  in  the  United  States  or  lands  in 
Mexico. 

It  was  agreed  between  the  two  companies  that  the  Imperial  Land 
Company  should  also  be  allowed  to  acquire  and  own  the  townsites  in 
the  Valley,  and  that  the  work  of  the  California  Development  Company 
should  then  be  confined  to  furnishing  water. 

We  decided,  at  that  time,  after  mature  deliberation  and  consultation 
with  our  attorneys,  upon  the  plan  which  we  afterward  followed,  name- 
ly, that  of  the  organization  of  mutual  water  companies  to  which  the 
California  Development  Company  would  wholesale  water  at  a  given 
price.  We  believed  that  for  any  one  company  to  undertake  to  distribute 
water  to  the  individual  users  over  such  an  area  would  be  unfeasible.  In 
the  first  inception  of  the  scheme  it  was  proposed  to  divide  the  entire 
country  into  water  districts,  although  the  final  plan  of  the  mutual  water 
companies  was  not  worked  out  until  the  spring  of  1900. 

After  the  signing  of  the  Chaffey  contract  in  April,  1900,  we  were 
then  ready  to  begin  the  field  operations,  but  it  was  necessary  for  me  to 
return  to  New  York  in  May  of  that  year  to  hold  the  annual  meeting  of 
the  California  Development  Company.  Previous  to  this  trip,  however, 
I  engaged  the  services  of  Mr.  C.  N.  Perry,  who  had  been  with  me  on 
my  work  in  the  Yakima  country  in  1890,  and  who  had  accompanied  me 
to  Yuma  when  I  came  there  in  September,  1892,  and  who  had  been  with 
me  and  had  been  largely  instrumental  in  developing  the  surveys  and 
plans  during  the  years  of  1892  and  1893,  after  which  time  Mr.  Perry 
had  remained  in  Los  Angeles  in  the  office  of  the  county  surveyor  and 
city  engineer,  but  at  my  solicitation  left  that  employ  in  order  to  take  up 
again  the  work  in  the  Colorado  Desert,  which  name  we  had  decided  to 
change  to  Imperial  Valley. 


I2o  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

Mr.  Perry  began  his  work  at  Flowing  Well  in  the  middle  of  April, 
1900,  running  a  line  from  that  point  south  with  the  hope  of  finding  suf- 
ficient government  corners  of  the  survey  of  1854-1856  to  allow  him  to 
retrace  the  old  government  lines.  He  was  unable  at  this  time  to  find  any 
authentic  corners  north  of  the  fourth  parallel,  but  found  nearly  all  of 
the  corners  of  what  is  called  the  Brunt  Survey,  south  of  the  fourth 
parallel,  which  survey  was  made  in  the  year  1880.  Brunt,  in  his  notes, 
showed  certain  connections  made  with  the  surveys  of  1856  on  the  fourth 
parallel,  and  upon  the  reasonable  assumption  that  the  sworn  statement 
of  Brunt  was  true,  Mr.  Perry  projected  the  lines  to  the  north  of  the 
fourth  parallel,  using  as  a  basis  the  field  notes  for  the  townships  north 
together  with  the  Brunt  stakes  found  on  the  south.  He  soon  discovered, 
however,  that  something  was  wrong,  just  what  he  was  unable  to  tell. 
I,  in  the  meantime,  was  in  New  York,  but  Mr.  Ferguson  being  on  the 
ground  authorized  and  ordered  him  to  proceed  with  the  survey  as  then 
outlined,  with  the  assurance  that  if  anything  was  wrong  that  a  Con- 
gressional Act  would  afterward  be  obtained  to  make  it  right. 

On  my  return  from  New  York  in  June  I  had  no  time  to  devote  to  at- 
tempting to  straighten  out  the  surveys  of  the  Valley,  as  it  was  neces- 
sary for  someone  to  proceed  at  once  to  the  City  of  Mexico  to  obtain 
concessions  that  would  allow  us  to  commence  construction  in  Mexico. 
As  I  was  the  only  one  connected  with  the  company  that  had  any  ac- 
quaintance in  Mexico,  and  so  far  had  handled  the  Mexican  business,  I 
was  the  one  naturally  deputized  to  undertake  that  work,  and  proceeded 
at  once  to  the  City  of  Mexico,  returning  to  California  in  October  of 
that  year,  and  in  the  following  month,  November,  came  to  the  Valley, 
camping  at  Cameron  Lake,  and  commenced  the  engineering  surveys 
upon  which  the  present  system  of  distribution  is  based,  and  also  began 
in  December,  1900,  with  Mr.  Thomas  Beach,  as  superintendent,  the 
great  work  of  construction  of  the  Imperial  Canal  system. 

The  only  water  in  the  Valley  at  that  time  was  at  Blue  Lake,  Cameron 
Lake  and  at  the  Calf  Holes  in  New  River,  northwest  of  the  townsite  of 
Imperial.  The  few  teams  we  had  were  camped  at  Cameron  Lake  and, 
for  a  while,  they  went  from  Cameron  Lake,  a  distance  of  three  miles, 
to  their  work ;  afterward  we  had  to  haul  water  to  the  outfits  in  the  field, 
until  finally  the  waters  at  Cameron  Lake  became  so  low  and  so  thick 
with  fish  and  mud  that  it  was  impossible  for  stock  or  man  to  use  it. 


EARLY  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY  I2i 

Fortunately,  however,  some  depressions  and  holes,  farther  south,  in 
Mexico,  had  been  filled  up  by  rains,  and  we  were  able  to  obtain  suffi- 
cient water  for  stock  uses  from  these  holes. 

Under  the  agreement  entered  into  with  Mr.  George  Chaffey,  he  per- 
sonally was  under  no  obligation  to  build  the  canals  in  the  State  of  Cali- 
fornia. Under  his  contract  he  was  only  to  bring  water  from  the  Colora- 
do River  through  to  the  International  Line,  at  a  point  east  of  Calexico. 

Imperial  Water  Company  Number  i  had  been  formed,  settlers  were 
coming  in  in  large  numbers,  and  the  Imperial  Land  Company,  under  Mr. 
Ferguson's  management,  in  connection  with  the  Mutual  Water  Com- 
pany, was  to  find  all  of  the  funds  necessary  for  the  construction  of 
the  distributary  system.  Outside  funds,  however,  were  not  forthcom- 
ing. The  process  of  lifting  ourselves  by  our  bootstraps  was  not  entirely 
successful.  We  were  selling  water  stock  on  the  basis  of  $8.75  a  share, 
payable  $1.00  down,  the  remainder  $1.00  per  year,  and  this  $1.00  had 
to  go  to  the  Imperial  Land  Company  to  pay  for  its  actual  expenses  in 
advertising  and  the  expenses  it  was  necessarily  put  to  in  bringing  the 
people  into  the  Valley,  consequently  there  was  nothing  left  for  construc- 
tion. Mr.  Chaffey  had,  however,  advanced  some  money  for  this  purpose 
and,  at  my  earnest  solicitation,  a  new  agreement  was  entered  into 
whereby  the  responsibilities  for  the  construction  of  the  distributary 
system  was  taken  from  the  Imperial  Land  Company  and  placed  upon 
the  California  Development  Company. 

The  work  that  we  were  doing  at  that  time  in  colonization  was  very 
large.  I  doubt  if  it  has  ever  been  equaled  under  any  irrigation  project, 
but  with  insufficient  funds  for  construction  in  sight,  every  share  of 
water  stock  sold  increased  our  financial  difficulties,  as  it  necessitated 
the  placing  of  water  upon  lands  within  a  given  period  of  time,  and  with 
no  money  in  sight  to  do  the  work.  This  condition  of  affairs  obtained 
through  the  first  four  years  of  struggle  of  the  California  Development 
Company. 

Every  means  possible  was  tried,  from  time  to  time,  to  bring  in  funds. 
Water  stocks  were  sold  at  a  ridiculously  low  figure  in  wholesale  lots  to 
those  who  made  large  profits  therefrom.  The  majority  of  people  be- 
lieve that  these  profits  went  to  the  California  Development  Company, 
but  to  my  own  knowledge  no  stockholder  in  the  California  Develop- 
ment Company  has  ever  received  one  dollar  in  dividends,  and  every 


122  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

dollar  received  by  the  California  Development  Company  from  the  sale 
of  water  stocks  has  gone  directly  into  the  construction  of  the  canal  sys- 
tem, and  yet,  due  to  the  fact  that  we  were  improperly  financed  and 
were  obliged  continuously  to  make  tremendous  sacrifices  in  order  to 
obtain  funds,  the  funds  obtained  were  never  sufficient  to  carry  on  the 
work  and  to  keep  up  with  the  contracts  entered  into  for  the  delivery  of 
water. 

I  had,  in  the  month  of  May,  1900,  just  previous  to  my  trip  to  New 
York,  gained  information  the  truth  of  which  I  could  not  doubt,  that  led 
me  to  believe  that  friction  was  sure  to  arise  between  Mr.  Ferguson  and 
myself,  and  also  led  me  to  doubt  as  to  whether  the  management  of  the 
affairs  of  the  Imperial  Land  Company  under  him  could  be  successful, 
and  if  unsuccessful,  I  knew  that  the  California  Development  Company 
could  not  succeed.  At  my  solicitation  then,  Mr.  Heber  met  me  in  Chi- 
cago on  my  way  East  and  I  attempted  to  induce  him  to  give  up  his  work 
in  Wyoming  with  Mr.  Emerson  and  again  join  us  in  the  work  of  de- 
velopment of  what  we  had  now  named  the  Imperial  Valley.  This,  how- 
ever, Mr.  Heber  declined  to  do  at  the  time,  stating  that  he  was  making 
money  with  Emerson,  and  that  he  would  lose  financially  by  making  a 
change.  Later  in  the  year,  however,  in  November,  1900,  Mr.  Heber 
made  a  visit  to  the  coast,  and  as  his  affairs  in  Wyoming  were  then  in  a 
condition  so  that  he  could  leave  them,  he  decided  to  again  become  ac- 
tively interested  in  the  development  of  the  Valley,  but  didn't  at  that 
time  become  connected  with  the  management.  He,  however,  succeeded 
in  bringing  some  Eastern  money  in,  which  materially  assisted  us,  and, 
in  the  spring  of  1901  he  joined  us  actively  and  permanently  in  the  work, 
becoming  a  little  later  the  second  vice-president  of  the  California  De- 
velopment Company  and  the  general  manager  of  the  Imperial  Land 
Company  in  place  of  Mr.  Ferguson. 

In  June,  1901,  the  Chaff eys  obtained  possession  of  2500  shares  of  the 
stock  of  the  California  Development  Company,  and  as  soon  as  they  ob- 
tained possession  of  this  stock  they  refused  to  go  ahead  with  the  work 
under  the  old  contract  and  demanded  that  a  new  contract  should  be 
made  that  would  give  to  them  the  control  of  the  company's  stock.  We 
refused  to  accede  to  this  and  they  then  outlined  a  scheme  of  a  holding 
company  into  which  the  control  of  the  stock  should  be  placed.  This  we 
also  refused,  but  demanded  that  they  go  ahead  under  their  original  con- 


EARLY  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


123 


tract.  These  negotiations  extended  over  several  months  of  time,  in  fact 
during  the  entire  summer  of  1901. 

In  September  of  that  year,  my  personal  relations  with  the  Chaffeys 
having  become  somewhat  strained,  I  broke  off  negotiations  with  them 
and  left  for  the  State  of  Washington  to  look  after  certain  property  in- 
terests I  had  there,  returning  to  Los  Angeles  in  the  latter  end  of  Octo- 
ber. When  I  left  I  had  given  my  power  of  attorney  to  Mr.  E.  A. 
Meserve  of  Los  Angeles  granting  to  him  the  power  to  sign  my  name  to 
any  document  or  contract  that  might  be  entered  into  with  the  Chaffeys, 
providing  only  that  Messrs.  Heber,  Blaisdell  and  Heffernan  should  be 
a  unit  in  their  desire  that  such  a  contract  should  be  made.  On  my  return, 
to  my  consternation  and  chagrin  I  found  that  the  Delta  Investment 
Company  had  been  formed ;  that  under  the  contract  entered  into  be- 
tween the  Delta  Investment  Company  and  the  California  Development 
Company,  the  Delta  Investment  Company  had  been  appointed  the  finan- 
cial agent  of  the  California  Development  Company,  with  power  to  buy 
its  bonds  at  50  cents  on  the  dollar,  with  power  to  buy  in  all  of  its  mort- 
gages at  50  cents  on  the  dollar ;  that  the  assets  of  the  Delta  Investment 
Company  consisted  solely  and  only  of  stock  in  the  California  Develop- 
ment Company  contributed  by  the  Chaffeys  and  Heber,  and  the  stock 
of  the  Imperial  Land  Company,  that  through  these  holdings  the  Delta 
Investment  Company  controlled  the  California  Development  Company, 
and  that  the  Chaffeys,  controlling  the  Delta  Investment  Company,  ab- 
solutely controlled  the  California  Development  Company;  that  the  Del- 
ta Investment  Company  had  also  succeeded  in  my  absence,  by  simply 
exchanging  stocks,  in  buying  up  practically  all  of  the  stock  of  the  Im- 
perial Land  Company.  As  soon  as  I  looked  over  the  contract,  I  called 
together  Messrs.  Heber,  Blaisdell  and  Heffernan  to  find  out  why  such 
a  contract  had  been  entered  into,  and  ascertained  that  neither  Blaisdell 
nor  Heffernan  had  paid  any  particular  attention  to  a  study  of  the  con- 
tract ;  they  hadn't  seen  where  it  would  land  them ;  they  had  not  been 
very  actively  interested  in  the  business  end  of  the  California  Develop- 
ment Company,  but  had  left  their  interests  largely  in  the  hands  of  Mr. 
Heber  and  myself,  and  that  in  my  absence  they  had  acceded  to  Mr. 
Heber's  request  that  they  should  sign  this  agreement ;  they  had  believed 
it  was  for  the  best  interest  of  the  company.  Mr.  Heber  so  believed,  and 
stated  to  me  at  the  time  that  he  had  drawn  the  plan  of  the  Delta  In- 


124 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


vestment  Company  and  that  he  believed  that  it  would  work  out  all  right. 
I  wasn't  satisfied,  however,  and  as  the  after  history,  which  was  very 
rapidly  enacted,  showed,  my  predictions  in  regard  to  the  Delta  Invest- 
ment Company  were  correct. 

My  feelings  toward  the  Chaffeys  was  at  this  time  of  a  nature  that 
would  hardly  permit  me  to  return  to  the  Valley  in  active  charge  of  the 
construction  even  had  Mr.  Chaffey  so  desired,  which  evidently  he  did 
not,  as  he  himself  took  the  title  of  chief  engineer  and  made  his  head- 
quarters at  Calexico  during  the  winter  of  1901  and  1902,  and  assumed 
direct  charge  of  construction.  Money  was  immediately  forthcoming  for 
construction  purposes,  but  money  through  the  Delta  Investment  Com- 
pany cost  the  California  Development  Company  $2.00  for  every  dollar 
that  it  obtained,  and  I  soon  saw  the  end  unless  something  was  done. 

I  did  not  enter  into  negotiations  with  the  Chaffeys  at  that  time,  but, 
using  Mr.  Heber  as  an  intermediary,  I  notified  the  Chaffeys  that  unless 
things  were  put  in  a  different  shape  immediately  that  the  whole  matter 
would  be  thrown  into  the  courts,  although  I  foresaw  that  this  would 
necessarily  stop  the  work  of  development  in  the  Valley.  But  I  had  not 
only  the  interest  of  the  settlers  of  the  Valley  to  look  out  for,  but  I  con- 
sidered even  as  a  prior  and  superior  lien  upon  my  efforts  the  interest  of 
the  stockholders  who  had  invested  their  money  in  the  California  De- 
velopment Company  through  me.  The  final  result  of  this  action  was  that 
negotiations  were  opened  with  the  Chaffeys  for  the  purchase  of  their  in- 
terests in  the  company,  resulting  in  the  elimination  of  the  Chaffeys  from 
the  management  of  the  company  in  February,  1902. 

Before  this  purchase  was  consummated,  however,  and  the  manage- 
ment of  affairs  turned  back  to  its  original  owners,  the  Chaffeys,  who 
were  in  control  of  the  California  Development  Company  and  in  control 
of  the  board  of  the  Delta  Investment  Company,  passed  certain  resolu- 
tions and  made  certain  transfers  that  took  from  the  California  Develop- 
ment Company  all  of  its  bonds  and  a  very  large  portion  of  its  notes  and 
mortgages,  and  in  order  to  carry  through  the  purchase  we  not  only  paid 
over  to  the  Chaffeys,  in  addition  to  all  of  the  securities  of  the  company 
which  they  had  taken,  the  sum  of  $25,000  in  cash,  raised  not  by  the 
company  but  by  individual  stockholders  in  the  company,  and  in  addition 
we  gave  them  our  note  for  $100,000,  secured  by  a  majority  of  stock  in 
the  California  Development  Company. 


EARLY  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY  125 

We  started  out  then,  about  the  first  of  March,  1902,  with  our  bonds 
all  gone,  our  mortgages  largely  depleted,  not  a  dollar  in  the  treasury, 
and  invidually  so  deeply  in  debt  to  the  Chaffeys  that  it  was  exceedingly 
doubtful  whether  we  would  ever  be  able  to  pull  out. 

We,  however,  took  over  the  management  of  the  enterprise  and  in 
order  to  provide  funds  for  construction  we  succeeded  in  borrowing 
$25,000  from  the  First  National  Bank  of  Los  Angeles,  and  I  again  took 
charge  of  construction. 

In  the  deal  made  with  the  Chaffeys  and  the  Delta  Investment  Com- 
pany, at  this  time,  their  personal  interest  in  the  stock  of  the  California 
Development  Company  and  of  the  Imperial  Land  Company  was  pur- 
chased by  Heber,  Blaisdell,  Heffernan  and  Rockwood,  of  the  old  guard, 
and  by  Messrs.  F.  C.  Paulin,  J.  W.  Oakley  and  H.  C.  Oakley,  who  had 
been  very  active  as  outside  agents  under  the  Imperial  Land  Company, 
and  who  at  this  time  became  directly  interested  with  us  as  owners  of 
one-half  of  the  stock  of  the  Imperial  Land  Company,  and  of  a  smaller 
percentage  of  the  stock  of  the  California  Development  Company.  Mr. 
Paulin  became  the  manager  of  the  Imperial  Land  Company,  Mr.  Heber 
being  its  president  as  well  as  president  of  the  California  Development 
Company. 

As  I  said  in  a  previous  paragraph,  under  the  agreement  entered  into 
by  the  Imperial  Land  Company  and  the  California  Development  Com- 
pany, the  Imperial  Land  Company  was  to  have  the  townsites  in  the 
Valley,  the  California  Development  Company  restricting  its  activities 
to  furnishing  water  to  the  lands.  It  may  be  of  interest  to  know  some- 
thing regarding  the  townsites  and  why  they  came  to  be  placed  in  the  lo- 
cations which  they  now  occupy. 

On  my  return  from  the  City  of  Mexico  in  October,  1900,  I  found 
that  the  then  manager  of  the  Imperial  Land  Company,  Mr.  S.  W.  Fer- 
guson, had  selected  for  the  site  of  what  we  intended  to  be  the  central 
town  of  the  Valley,  the  lands  now  occupied  by  the  town  of  Imperial.  It 
had  been  decided  before  that  this  town,  when  laid  out,  should  be  given 
the  name  of  Imperial,  corresponding  to  the  name  that  we  had  given  to 
the  Valley.  Personally,  I  objected  very  seriously  to  the  location  that 
had  been  selected  for  two  reasons,  first,  that  the  character  of  the  soil 
was  of  such  nature  that  it  would  be  difficult  to  produce  the  flowers  and 
shrubbery  which  residents  of  the  Valley  would  naturally  desire  to  put 


126  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

about  their  homes ;  second,  I  knew  that  any  branch  road  reaching  Im- 
perial from  the  main  line  of  the  Southern  Pacific  track  would  necessar- 
ily pass  for  several  miles  north  of  the  town  through  a  country  that  for 
years  would  remain  undeveloped.  I  refer  here  especially  to  the  rough 
and  salt  lands  between  Imperial  and  Brawley.  I  knew  that  in  as  much 
as  all  strangers  coming  into  the  Valley  would  pass  over  this  land  that 
the  impression  must  be  a  bad  one,  and  for  these  two  reasons  I  urged 
that  as  not  more  than  twenty  lots  had  been  sold  at  that  time  in  the  pro^ 
posed  new  townsite,  that  it  should  be  moved  to  a  location  which  would 
have  placed  it  one  and  a  half  miles  north  of  what  is  now  the  town  of  El 
Centro.  Had  this  been  done  at  the  time  the  opportunity  would  never 
have  existed  for  a  competitive  town  in  the  neighborhood  of  Imperial. 
The  railroad  would  have  been  thrown  farther  to  the  east,  coming 
through  the  highly  cultivated  area  in  the  Mesquite  Bottom,  and  the  fac- 
tional strifes  and  difficulties  which  have  arisen  through  the  establish- 
ment of  El  Centro  would  never  have  existed,  and  instead  of  two  fight- 
ing communities  in  the  center  of  the  Valley  today,  we  would  probably 
have  a  town  of  between  three  and  four  thousand  people  that  would  now 
be  recognized  by  the  outside  world  as  one  of  the  coming  cities  of  Cali- 
fornia, and  the  bitterness  engendered  by  the  establishment  of  El  Centro 
would  have  been  obviated. 

The  town  of  Silsbee  was  selected  on  account  of  its  location  on  the 
shore  of  Blue  Lake,  which  previous  to  the  overflow  of  the  Colorado 
River  gave  the  opportunity  for  the  establishment  of  a  very  beautiful 
town  and  resort  in  the  Valley.  The  town  was  given  its  name  from  the 
original  owner  of  the  lands,  Thomas  Silsbee. 

Calexico,  which  derives  its  name  from  a  combination  of  California 
and  Mexico,  simply  happened.  The  engineering  headquarters  of  the 
company  were  first  established  at  Cameron  Lake,  but  I  decided  for 
permanent  quarters  to  erect  the  company  buildings  at  the  international 
line  on  the  east  bank  of  the  New  River.  When  the  buildings  were  estab- 
lished at  this  point  we  knew  that  we  would  build  a  town  on  the  line,  but 
its  exact  location  was  not  fully  determined  upon.  Mr.  Chaffey  laid  off 
the  town  of  Calexico  at  the  point  where  it  is  now  established  in  the  fall 
of  1901,  and  placed  the  property  on  the  market,  but  it  was  soon  with- 
drawn from  sale  for  the  reason  that  the  Southern  Pacific  Railroad,  in 
building  the  branch  through  the  Valley,  desired  to  run  straight  south 


EARLY  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


127 


from  Imperial  to  a  point  near  the  international  line,  from  which  point 
they  would  swing  eastward  toward  Yuma.  The  railroad  would  have 
been  so  built  and  the  town  of  Calexico  would  then  have  been  located  to 
the  west  of  New  River  and  about  two  miles  west  of  its  present  loca- 
tion but  for  the  fact  that  it  would  have  thrown  a  portion  of  the  town- 
site  on  a  school  section  which  was  held  by  a  lady  living  in  Los  Angeles 
who  refused  to  listen  to  what  we  believed  to  be  a  fair  offer  for  her 
property,  and  as  we  were  unable  to  obtain  the  lands  necessary  for  our 
uses  we  got  the  Southern  Pacific  to  run  the  road  from  Imperial  straight 
to  the  present  location  of  Calexico. 

The  townsite  of  Brawley  was  not,  in  the  first  place,  controlled  by  the 
Imperial  Land  Company.  The  Imperial  Water  Company  No.  4  had  been 
organized  and  the  major  portion  of  its  stock  sold  in  a  block  to  J.  H. 
Braly,  a  banker  of  Los  Angeles,  who  had  undertaken  the  colonization 
of  this  tract  of  land.  In  the  agreement  with  him  he  was  to  have  the  right 
to  locate  a  townsite  within  the  tract.  Afterward,  before  the  town  was 
started,  the  properties  owned  by  Mr.  Braly  were  re-purchased  by  the 
Imperial  Land  Company  and  the  Oakley-Paulin  Company,  and  the  town 
was  laid  out  on  its  present  location.  Mr.  Heber  desired  to  name  the 
town  Braly  in  honor  of  Mr.  J.  H.  Braly,  but  as  the  latter  refused  to  have 
his  name  used  in  connection  with  the  town,  it  was  named  Brawley,  in 
honor  of  a  friend  of  Mr.  Heber's  in  Chicago. 

The  townsite  of  Holtville  was  selected  by  Mr.  W.  F.  Holt  and  laid 
out  by  him  under  an  agreement  between  himself  and  the  Imperial  Land 
Company. 

The  history  of  El  Centro  is  so  recent  in  the  minds  of  the  people  that 
it  is  not  necessary  to  refer  to  it  here  except  to  say  that  these  lands  were 
originally  selected  as  a  townsite  by  Mr.  W.  F.  Holt,  and  he  gave  at  that 
time  to  the  town  the  name  of  Carbarker.  The  Imperial  Land  Company, 
realizing  that  the  establishment  of  a  town  at  this  point  would  not  only 
injure  its  property  in  Imperial,  but  would  also  injure  the  investment  of 
the  many  people  who  had  already  purchased  property  at  that  point, 
made  a  contract  with  Mr.  Holt  whereby  it  agreed  to  buy  from  him  the 
lands  on  which  Carbarker  was  located,  and  the  townsite  of  Holtville  as 
well.  The  Imperial  Land  Company,  after  paying  many  thousands  of 
dollars  on  this  contract,  found  that  it  was  unable  to  carry  out  its  con- 
tract on  account  of  the  depression  due  to  the  agitations  in  the  year 


I28  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

1904-05,  and  it  made  a  new  contract  with  Mr.  Holt  whereby  it  agreed 
to  turn  back  to  him  the  townsite  of  Holtville  and  the  lands  on  which 
Carbarker  had  been  located  on  condition  that  the  establishing  of  a  town 
at  the  latter  point  should  be  abandoned. 

The  townsite  of  Heber  was  named  in  honor  of  Mr.  A.  H.  Heber. 

Water  was  turned  into  the  No.  1  main  canal  for  irrigation  in  March, 
1902,  and  we  succeeded  in  obtaining  some  funds  so  that  the  work  on 
construction  continued  actively  during  that  season,  but,  confronted  as 
we  were  with  the  tremendous  load  of  the  Chaffeys,  the  fact  that  our 
bonds  had  been  removed  without  sufficient  consideration  being  placed 
in  the  treasury  to  allow  rapid  construction,  we  were  very  greatly  ham- 
pered through  all  of  the  years  1902  and  1903,  and  it  was  impossible  to 
obtain  sufficient  money  to  keep  up  the  work  of  construction  rapidly 
enough  to  meet  the  demands  for  water,  notwithstanding  the  fact  that 
we  were  willing  to,  and  did,  sacrifice  our  securities  and  our  water  stock 
in  order  to  obtain  funds  to  meet  the  pressing  needs. 

We  had  a  great  deal  of  trouble  with  the  wooden  head  gate  which  had 
been  built  by  Mr.  Chaffey  at  Hanlon's,  the  floor  of  which,  unfortunate- 
ly, had  been  left  several  feet  above  the  bottom  grade  line  of  the  canal  as 
originally  planned  by  me.  When  this  gate  was  built  by  Mr.  Chaffey,  it 
wasn't  considered  as  a  permanent  gate  but  as  a  temporary  expedient 
placed  there  to  control  the  entrance  of  water  into  the  canal  during  the 
summer  of  1901,  and  it  was  Mr.  Chaff ey's  intention  to  replace  this  by  a 
permanent  structure  as  soon  as  time  and  finances  would  permit.  This 
gate  was  well  and  substantially  built,  and  had  its  floor  been  placed  five 
feet  lower,  the  probabilities  are  that  it  could  be  used  safely  today  for  the 
control  of  all  water  at  present  required  in  the  Valley. 

Due  to  the  fact  that  the  floor  was  left  above  grade,  we  found  it  nec- 
essary, in  the  falls  of  1902,  1903  and  1904,  to  cut  a  by-pass  around  !the 
gate  to  the  river,  and  it  was  through  this  by-pass  then,  during  these 
three  years,  that  water  was  obtained  at  low  water  for  the  irrigation  of 
the  Valley. 

It  was  our  desire  at  all  times,  after  taking  over  the  enterprise  from 
the  Chaffeys,  to  construct  a  permanent  gate  on  the  site  where  it  was 
afterward  built  in  the  winter  of  1905-1906,  but  we  were  unable  to  ob- 
tain the  large  amount  required  and  were  forced,  through  lack  of  funds, 
to  the  expedient  of  leaving  this  open  channel  around  the  gate  to  be 


EARLY  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


129 


closed  on  the  approach  of  the  summer  flood.  The  channel  was  success- 
fully closed  against  the  approaching  summer  flood  in  the  summers  of 
1902, 1903  and  1904.  In  the  winter  of  1903-1904  there  was  a  very  serious 
shortage  of  water  in  the  Valley,  due  to  the  fact  that  the  main  canal, 
built  by  Mr.  Chaffey,  had  not  been  constructed  to  its  required  depth, 
and  with  the  machinery  and  funds  at  hand  we  were  unable  to  increase 
the  water  supply  fast  enough  to  keep  up  with  the  demands  of  the  Val- 
ley, and  the  water  in  the  river  fell  exceedingly  low  in  the  spring  of 
1904,  and  made  it  impossible  for  us  to  obtain  sufficient  water  through 
the  main  canal  for  the  uses  of  the  people,  with  the  result  that  consider- 
able damage  was  done.  The  actual  amount  of  damage,  however,  was 
but  a  very  small  proportion  of  the  damage  claims,  as  is  evidenced  by 
the  fact  that  while  these  claims,  amounting  to  over  $500,000,  were  set- 
tled every  one  of  them  out  of  court  in  the  year  1905  by  a  payment  of 
less  than  $35,000,  paid  entirely  in  water  and  water  stocks,  and  I  believe 
that  every  claim  was  fairly  settled. 

These  claims,  however,  had  been  very  greatly  exaggerated,  due  pos- 
sibly to  the  natural  antagonism  of  any  people  living  under  a  large  water 
system  toward  the  company  controlling  their  source  of  supply ;  due, 
also,  to  the  fact  that  since  the  passage  of  the  Reclamation  Act  in  June, 
1902,  and  the  starting  of  the  Yuma  project  later  by  the  reclamation  ser- 
vice, the  people  of  the  Valley  had  gotten  into  their  heads  the  belief  that 
if  the  California  Development  Company  could  be  removed,  that  the 
reclamation  service  could  be  gotten  to  take  up  the  work ;  that  the  entire 
enterprise  would  then  be  backed  by  the  government  with  unlimited 
funds  at  its  command  and  that  the  people  would  be  obliged  to  pay  to 
the  government  but  a  small  portion  of  the  moneys  that  they  were 
obliged  to  pay  to  the  California  Development  Company,  and  that  they 
would  eventually  through  that  means  achieve  the  very  laudable  desire 
of  owning  their  own  system.  Undoubtedly  the  engineers  of  the  reclama- 
tion service,  who  had  made  several  trips,  individually  and  as  a  body, 
into  the  Valley,  desired  to  foment  this  belief,  as  it  had  been  their  inten- 
tion from  the  formation  of  the  reclamation  service  to  bring  water  into 
the  Imperial  Valley. 

It  was  necessary  for  the  reclamation  service,  in  order  to  obtain  abso- 
lute control  of  the  waters  of  the  Colorado  River,  to  do  away  with  this 
great  prior  appropriator,  the  California  Development  Company,  whose 


130 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


work,  if  carried  through  to  success,  would  cover,  in  one  body,  more 
than  half  of  the  irrigable  land  on  the  Colorado  watershed.  That  it  was 
the  intention  of  the  reclamation  service  to  bring  water  into  the  Valley 
as  early  as  December,  1902,  is  evidenced  by  the  sworn  testimony  of  Mr. 
J.  B.  Lippincott,  supervising  engineer,  U.  S.  R.  S.,  given  in  the  case  of 
the  Colorado  Delta  Canal  Company  vs.  the  United  States  Government, 
which  is  a  matter  of  court  record. 

The  reclamation  service  had  contemplated  the  construction  of  a  ser- 
ies of  high-impounding  dams  on  the  Colorado  River,  but  through  sound- 
ings, finding  no  bed  rock,  they  were  obliged  to  abandon  this  project,  but 
finally,  during  the  year  1903,  outlined  the  plan  of  the  Yuma  project  and 
the  Laguna  Dam. 

The  engineers  of  the  reclamation  service  advanced  the  theory  that 
no  canal  from  the  Colorado  River  could  be  a  permanent  success  except 
that  a  diversion  dam  across  the  river  be  constructed  which  would  raise 
the  water  and  would  allow  them  by  means  of  the  sluicing  head  that  it 
would  give,  to  wash  out  the  silt  that  would  drop  in  the  canal.  Not  only 
then  would  the  continuance  in  successful  operation  of  the  Imperial 
Canal  disprove  their  theory  that  a  dam  was  necessary  and  thereby  ques- 
tion the  necessity  of  the  expenditure  of  the  amount  of  money  that  the 
Laguna  Dam  would  cost.  But  the  cost  of  the  Laguna  Dam  was  to  be  so 
great  that  it  would  put  too  great  a  burden  on  the  farmers  unless  they 
could  gain  possession  of  the  Imperial  enterprise,  and  by  so  doing  carry 
the  Imperial  Canal  to  the  Laguna  Dam,  and  thereby  make  the  farmers 
of  the  Imperial  Valley  pay  the  major  portion  of  the  cost  of  that  work. 

The  reclamation  service  then,  in  this  year  of  trouble,  1904,  advised 
the  people  of  the  Imperial  Valley  that  if  they  desired  the  government  to 
come  in,  it  would  be  necessary  for  them  to  form  a  water  users'  associa- 
tion, and  through  it  make  the  necessary  petitions  to  the  government.  It 
would  also  be  necessary  in  some  way  to  get  possession  of  the  plant  of 
the  California  Development  Company  or  to  ignore  them.  In  order  to  ig- 
nore them,  if  possible,  surveys  were  projected  by  the  reclamation  ser- 
vice with  the  idea  of  keeping  the  canal  entirely  in  the  United  States,  but 
it  was  found,  according  to  their  estimates,  that  to  do  so  would  cost  at 
least  twelve  million  dollars  more  than  to  follow  the  route  of  the  Impe- 
rial Canal  through  Mexico ;  that,  consequently,  it  was  not  feasible. 

It  was  at  this  time,  in  the  summer  of  1904,  harassed  by  lack  of 


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EARLY  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


131 


funds,  by  damage  claims  piling  up  against  us  for  failure  to  deliver  wa- 
ter, by  suits  being  threatened  in  every  direction,  by  statements  emanat- 
ing through  the  reclamation  service,  that  we  had  no  right  to  take  water 
from  the  Colorado  River  on  account  of  its  being  a  navigable  stream, 
that  we  decided  that  if  the  reclamation  service  desired  to  enter  the  Val- 
ley that^we  would  sell  to  it  all  of  our  rights  and  interests,  provided  that 
we  could  obtain  an  amount  that  we  considered  commensurate  with  the 
value  of  the  proposition.  Mr.  Heber,  as  the  president  and  financial  agent 
of  the  company,  went  to  Washington  in  order  to  undertake  these  nego- 
tiations and  the  engineers  of  the  reclamation  service  went  over  the  en- 
tire plant  of  the  California  Development  Company  in  order  to  estimate 
its  value.  Mr.  Heber  and  the  reclamation  service,  however,  were  far 
apart  in  their  ideas  of  value,  inasmuch  as  the  reclamation  service  be- 
lieved that  the  only,  remuneration  that  should  be  received  by  the  stock- 
holders of  the  California  Development  Company  was  the  amount  that 
would  be  required  to  duplicate  this  system.  They  were  unwilling  to  take 
into  consideration  that  in  this,  as  in  every  new  enterprise,  the  securities 
of  the  enterprise  must  be  sold  at  a  very  great  reduction  below  par ;  that 
in  the  building  of  such  an  enterprise  the  original  cost  must  be  far  in 
excess  of  what  it  would  be  when  the  project  is  partially  completed. 
They  were  unwilling  to  allow  any  consideration  for  the  rights  and  fran- 
chises which  we  had  obtained.  They  were  unwilling  to  allow  anything 
for  the  Alamo  Channel,  which  had  been  purchased  by  us  and  used  as  a 
canal  and  which  had  saved  at  least  one  million  dollars  in  the  construc- 
tion of  the  system.  It  is  possible  that  ,we  might,  at  that  time,  however, 
have  gotten  together  on  some  basis  of  settlement  with  the  reclamation 
service,  but  that,  unfortunately,  the  relations  between  Mr.  Heber  and 
the  service  became  so  strained  that  it  was  impossible  to  carry  on  nego- 
tiations and  the  whole  deal  was  declared  off  by  the  reclamation  service 
arriving  at  the  conclusion  that  no  law  existed  whereby  they  would  be 
able  to  carry  water  through,  Mexico  ;  at  any  rate,  this  is  the  reason  given 
for  breaking  off  negotiations. 

Not  only  was  our  work  greatly  retarded  and  handicapped  by  the  atti- 
tude of  the  reclamation  service,  which  made  the  people  of  the  Valley 
antagonistic  to  us,  destroying  our  credit  with  the  banks  of  Southern 
California  and  in  the  larger  financial  markets  of  the  United  States,  but 
other  departments  of  the  government  as  well,  from  the  very  inception 


132 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


of  the  enterprise,  instead  of  rendering  us  the  assistance  which  we  had 
every  reason  to  expect  we  would  receive  from  the  government,  retarded 
our  progress  and  at  times  made  it  nearly  impossible  to  carry  through 
our  work.  I  do  not  claim  that  this  has  been  intentional  on  the  part  of  any 
department  of  the  government,  with  the  exception  of  the  reclamation 
service,;  but  that  it  has  been  due  to  the  dilatory  tactics  of  the  govern- 
ment or  to  the  fact  that  it  has  sent  inexperienced  men  to  undertake  work 
of  very  great  importance;  but  no  matter  what  the  reason  may  be,  the 
effect  upon  the  welfare  of  the  Imperial  Valley  and  the  welfare  of  the 
California  Development  Company  has  been  very  disastrous. 

I  refer  in  this  especially  to  two  things :  first,  to  soil  surveys  made  by 
the  agricultural  department  in  the  winter  of  1901-1902.  The  field  work 
preceding  this  report  was  made  by  a  young  man  by  the  name  of  Garnett 
Holmes.  Mr.  Means,  his  superior  officer,  came  to  me  in  Los  Angeles  in 
the  summer  of  1901,  and  stated  that  he  desired  to  send  a  man  to  the 
Valley  in  the  fall  of  the  year  to  make  a  study  of  the  soils  and  report 
upon  the  same ;  and  requested  my  co-operation,  which  I  very  readily 
gave,  as  I  believed  that  such  a  report  from  the  government  would  ma- 
terially assist  us  in  our  work  in  the  Valley.  But  as  many  of  the  early 
settlers  know,  the  issuance  of  the  report  for  the  time  entirely  stopped 
immigration  into  the  Valley  and  very  nearly  bankrupted  the  California 
Development  Company,  as  it,  by  destroying  the  faith  of  investors  in  the 
Valley,  destroyed  for  the  time  being  the  credit  of  the  company.  The  re- 
port gave  the  impression  that  the  larger  portion  of  the  Valley  was  un- 
fit for  cultivation,  and  particularly  warned  the  people  who  were  intend- 
ing to  settle  here  to  be  exceedingly  careful  in  their  selection  of  land,  and 
expressed  a  very  serious  doubt  as  to  the  ultimate  future  of  the  Valley, 
due  to  the  belief  of  the  writer  that  the  alkalies  would  rise  to  the  sur- 
face and  would  destroy  all  plant  life.  Mr.  Holmes  made  statements  that 
in  certain  lands,  near  the  townsite  of  Imperial,  barley  would  not  ger- 
minate due  to  the  alkali.  On  this  same  land  large  crops  have  been  pro- 
duced every  year  since,  and,  fortunately,  people  have  finally  forgotten 
the  report  or  have  lost  faith  in  the  accuracy  and  knowledge  of  the  gov- 
ernment investigators  ;  but  at  the  time  the  blow  to  us  was  a  very  serious 
one.  Also,  in  our  work  we  have  been  constantly  hampered  by  the  atti- 
tude of  the  land  department,  although  it  is  my  belief  from  personal  in- 
tercourse with  the  officials  in  Washington  that  the  desire  of  the  depart- 


EARLY  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY  I33 

ment  is  to  straighten  out  the  surveys  as  soon  as  compatible  with  the  red 
tape  of  the  government,  and  not  unjustly  burden  our  people. 

I  referred  before  in  this  article  to  the  basis  that  we  assumed  for  the 
surveys  projected  to  the  north  of  the  fourth  parallel  and  the  reason  for 
taking  as  that  basis  the  Brunt  surveys  to  the  south  of  that  parallel.  It 
was  not  until  these  surveys  had  been  projected  far  to  the  north  and 
work  had  begun  on  the  retracing  of  the  lines  to  the  east  of  the  Alamo 
River  that  we  discovered  wherein  lay  the  real  trouble  with  the  surveys, 
by  finding  one  of  the  old  monuments  of  the  survey  of  1854,  the  finding 
of  which  showed  wherein  the  Imperial  land  survey  was  wrong.  Upon 
discovering  wherein  lay  the  error  in  the  land  company's  survey,  we 
immediately  put  several  parties  in  the  field  searching  for  the  old  monu- 
ments of  the  surveys  of  '54  and  '56,  but  in  an  area  of  thirty  townships 
we  found  but  five  of  the  old  corners  that  could  be  sworn  to  as  authentic. 
These  corners,  separated  as  they  were  over  such  a  large  area,  showed' 
that  very  great  errors  existed  in  the  original  survey ;  for  instance,  be- 
tween the  third  and  fourth  parallels,  a  distance,  according  to  the  gov- 
ernment surveys,  of  twenty-four  miles,  we  found  the  actual  distance  to 
be  approximately  twenty-five  and  a  quarter  miles ;  that  is,  the  govern- 
ment had  made  an  error  of  a  mile  and  a  quarter  in  running  a  distance 
of  twenty-four  miles  north  and  south.  East  and  west  across  the  Valley 
in  a  distance  of  thirty  miles  the  error  was  relatively  the  same,  or  ap- 
proximately two  miles.  It  was  manifestly  impossible  to  trace  the  old 
lines  and  to  reset  the  old  corners,  and  it  became  necessary  to  either  get 
the  government  to  make  a  resurvey  or  else  obtain  an  act  of  Congress 
adopting  the  surveys  of  the  Imperial  Land  Company.  Could  the  latter 
policy  have  been  carried  through,  it  would  have  done  away  with  many 
of  the  difficulties  and  troubles  that  have  existed  since,  but  we  found  that 
that  was  impossible.  Mr.  Heber  and  I  went  to  Washington  in  June, 
1902,  taking  with  us  all  of  our  maps  showing  all  of  the  surveys  that  had 
been  projected  by  the  Imperial  Land  Company,  so  that  we  might  place 
before  the  land  department  the  exact  condition  of  affairs  in  the  Valley. 
We  were  informed  by  the  commissioner  of  the  general  land  office  that 
no  precedent  existed,  and  that  there  was  no  law  by  which  they  could 
make  a  new  survey  without  a  special  act  of  Congress.  Although  it  was 
very  late  in  the  session  and  Congress  was  to  adjourn  in  July,  we  suc- 
ceeded in  having  the  act  passed  during  that  session  which  authorized 


134 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


the  resurvey  of  the  lands  in  the  Imperial  Valley.  The  act  was  passed  in 
July,  1902  ;  it  is  now  the  month  of  April,  1909,  and  the  work  of  the  gov- 
ernment to  straighten  out  the  surveys  covering  less  than  twenty  town- 
ships of  land  is  not  yet  completed.  Except  for  the  cumbersome  machin- 
ery and  red  tape  of  the  government,  there  is  probably  no  reason  why 
these  surveys  should  not  have  all  been  completed  during  the  year  1904. 
Had  this  been  done,  the  story  of  the  Imperial  Valley  today  would  prob- 
ably be  very  different  from  what  it  is  now,  as  the  people  would  have 
gotten  their  titles  and,  having  their  titles,  they  would  have  been  able  to 
obtain  sufficient  funds  for  the  development  of  the  lands  where  now  they 
find  it  impossible  to  obtain  money ;  consequently,  the  work  of  develop- 
ment is  necessarily  greatly  retarded. 

It  was  early  in  the  year  1905  that  negotiations  for  the  purchase  of  the 
property  by  the  reclamation  service  were  ended  and  we  were  then  con- 
fronted with  an  empty  treasury,  the  hostility  of  the  people  in  the  Val- 
ley, and  much  work  that  it  was  necessary  to  do  for  the  safety  and  per- 
manency of  the  system,  and  to  fulfill  our  agreement  with  the  various 
companies  in  the  Valley. 

The  banks  absolutely  refused  to  extend  us  any  further  credit  and 
were  clamoring  for  the  repayment  of  moneys  already  loaned,  and  it 
seemed  to  us  at  this  time  that  there  was  but  one  logical  source  from 
which  we  could  hope  to  obtain  sufficient  funds  to  carry  on  the  work, 
and  this  source  must  necessarily  be  one  which  was  equally  interested 
with  ourselves  in  the  development  of  the  territory,  namely,  the  Southern 
Pacific  Railroad. 

Mr.  Heber  returning  at  this  time  from  Washington,  the  question  was 
taken  up  and  discussed  with  him  and  he  approached  the  subject  of  a 
loan  to  Mr.  J.  K.  Krutschnitt,  director  and  manager  of  operation  of  the 
Harriman  lines,  but  was  turned  down  by  him.  He  afterward,  however, 
succeeded  in  obtaining  an  interview  with  Mr.  Harriman,  and  at  Mr. 
Harriman's  request,  Krutschnitt  authorized  the  officials  of  the  road  in 
San  Francisco  to  take  the  matter  up  for  investigation  and  report  to 
him.  After  investigating  they  offered  to  loan  us  the  $200,000,  for  which 
we  had  asked,  on  condition  that  two-thirds  of  the  stock  of  the  company 
should  be  placed  in  trust  to  secure  to  them  the  voting  control  and  man- 
agement of  the  company  until  the  loan  had  been  repaid.  Mr.  Heber  re- 
fused to  agree  to  this  proposition  except  it  be  agreed  that  he  would  be 


EARLY  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


135 


retained  in  the  management ;  but  the  Southern  Pacific  positively  refused 
to  advance  the  money  unless  Mr.  Heber  should  retire  from  the  manage- 
ment. Notwithstanding  the  friction  that  had  arisen  on  business  and 
personal  matters  between  Mr.  Heber  and  myself,  I  had  great  faith  in 
his  ability  as  an  executive,  and  in  his  ability  to  handle  the  land  and  col- 
onization of  the  Valley;  but  I  also  believed,  as  did  my  other  associates 
with  the  exception  of  Mr.  Heber,  that  unless  money  could  be  obtained 
quickly  from  some  source  the  company  would  soon  be  thrown  into 
bankruptcy.  Consequently,  Mr.  Blaisdell,  Dr.  Heffernan  and  myself 
went  to  San  Francisco  in  April,  1905,  and  in  an  interview  with  Messrs. 
Calvin,  Hood  and  Herrin  of  the  Southern  Pacific,  succeeded  in  getting 
them  to  agree  to  lend  to  the  California  Development  Company  $200,000, 
on  condition  that  we  should  succeed,  at  the  annual  meeting  of  the  com- 
pany to  be  held  in  Jersey  City  early  in  June,  in  placing  on  the  board 
three  men  to  be  named  by  them,  one  of  whom  should  be  selected  as  the 
president  and  general  manager  of  the  company ;  also  precedent  to  the 
loan,  that  we  were  to  place  in  the  hands  of  a  trustee  to  be  named  by 
the  Southern  Pacific  6300  shares  of  the  capital  stock  out  of  a  total  of 
12,500. 

Mr.  Heber  was  not  at  the  time  informed  of  these  negotiations.  He 
left  for  Jersey  City  in  May  in  order  to  hold  the  annual  meeting  in  June, 
and  I  went  east  during  the  same  month.  The  result  of  the  annual  meet- 
ing was  that  we  succeeded  in  doing  that  which  we  had  undertaken  to 
do,  and  as  a  final  result  the  management  of  the  company  was  turned 
over  to  the  Southern  Pacific  on  the  20th  day  of  June. 

The  Southern  Pacific  officials  named  as  their  representatives  on  the 
California  Development's  board,  Mr.  Epes  Randolph,  Mr.  George  A. 
Parkyns,  and  Mr.  R.  H.  Ingram,  and  the  members  of  the  board  named 
by  the  California  Development  Company  were  under  the  contract  made 
satisfactory  to  the  Southern  Pacific. 

It  was  the  desire  of  Messrs.  Blaisdell,  Heffernan  and  myself  that  Mr. 
Epes  Randolph,  in  whose  integrity  and  ability  we  had  the  utmost  confi- 
dence, should  become  the  president  of  the  company,  and  as  this  seemed 
to  be  satisfactory  to  the  San  Francisco  officials,  he  was  so  selected. 

It  was  not  at  the  time  stipulated  that  I  should  be  retained  as  an 
officer  of  the  company.  In  fact,  on  account  of  the  serious  difficulties  that 
had  arisen  between  Mr.  Heber  and  myself,  I  doubted  very  much  wheth- 


I36  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

er  it  was  good  policy  for  the  company  to  retain  me  actively  in  the  man- 
agement of  its  affairs.  This  whole  question  was  broached  to  Mr.  Ran- 
dolph and  he  was  left  with  entire  freedom  to  decide  as  he  might  see 
fit.  He  decided,  however,  that  as  neither  he  nor  any  of  the  Southern 
Pacific  officials  knew  anything  in  regard  to  the  affairs  of  the  California 
Development  Company,  that  it  would  be  necessary  to  retain  me  in  the 
position  that  I  afterward  filled,  namely,  that  of  assistant  general  man- 
ager. 

In  June,  1905,  the  break  in  the  Colorado  River  was  a  source  of  great 
alarm,  not  only  with  the  people  in  the  Valley,  but  was  becoming  so  to 
ourselves.  As  I  have  already  stated,  there  was  a  serious  shortage  of 
water  "in  the  Valley  in  the  winter  season  of  1903-04.  There  had  been 
some  trouble  with  the  silting  of  the  first  four  miles  of  the  main  canal 
below  the  Chaffey  gate,  due  to  the  fact  that  it  had  not  as  yet  been  exca- 
vated to  a  sufficient  depth  ;  and  also  that  Mr.  Chaffey,  instead  of  build- 
ing the  canal  on  the  alignment  originally  planned  by  me,  had  followed 
excavation  of  a  few  yards  of  material  in  the  tortuous  channel  of  an  old 
slough  which  left  in  the  canal  many  sharp  bends  that  not  only  retarded 
the  velocity  of  the  water,  but  caused,  at  times,  serious  erosion  of  the 
banks  and  a  consequent  deposit  of  sediment. 

With  the  machinery  at  our  command  and  which  we  could  purchase 
with  the  money  controlled  by  us,  we  had  been  unable  up  to  this  time  to 
straighten  and  deepen  this  section  of  the  canal  as  I  had  intended,  and  I 
evolved  the  theory  that  by  putting  in  a  waste  gate  about  eight  miles  be- 
low the  head  gate,  from  which  point  we  could  waste  water  into  the 
Paredones  River  and  from  this  into  Volcano  Lake,  that  we  could  carry 
through  the  upper  portion  of  the  canal  during  the  flood  season  of  1904 
a  sufficient  volume  of  water  to  deepen  and  scour  out  by  its  own  action 
this  upper  portion  of  the  canal.  This  waste  way  was  constructed  and  the 
flood  waters  were  allowed  to  run  freely  through  the  upper  portion  of  the 
canal  during  the  summer  season  of  1904.  The  first  action  of  the  heavy 
volume  of  water  coming  through  the  canal  was  as  I  had  expected.  From 
investigations  and  measurements  frequently  made,  some  two  feet  of 
the  bottom  was  taken  out,  and  I  believed,  then,  that  we  were  absolutely 
safe  for  our  Valley  supply  during  the  following  season  ;  but  I  had  count- 
ed without  my  host,  and  my  theory  was  disproven  a  little  later  in  the 
flood  season,  as  when  the  river  reached  its  flood  heights,  instead  of 


EARLY  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


137 


scouring  the  bottom  of  the  canal  as  I  had  expected,  the  heavy  sand 
waves  which  are  carried  along  the  bottom  of  the  river  in  extreme  flood 
periods,  were  carried  into  the  canal  and  deposited  within  the  first  four 
miles  below  the  gate.  As  soon  as  the  summer  flood  dropped  and  I  discov- 
ered this  condition  of  affairs,  and  that  instead  of  the  bottom  being  low- 
ered, it  was  approximately  one  foot  above  that  of  the  year  previous,  we 
adopted  the  only  means  at  our  command  to  attempt  to  deepen  the  canal. 

Knowing  the  character  of  the  material  to  be  removed,  we  knew  that 
with  the  dredging  tools  that  we  had  it  would  be  impossible  to  dredge 
out  this  four  miles  of  canal  in  sufficient  time  for  the  uses  of  the  Valley, 
providing  the  water  in  the  river  should  drop  as  low  as  it  had  the  previ- 
ous year.  The  dredgers  were  brought  back,  however,  and  put  at  work ; 
but  the  result  proved  as  I  had  anticipated,  that  it  would  take  practically 
all  winter  to  dredge  the  canals ;  that  is,  it  would  take  all  winter  to  pro- 
vide new  machinery,  even  if  we  had  the  money ;  and  in  hopes,  then,  that 
it  might  possibly  prove  effective,  I  employed  the  steamer  Cochan,  and, 
placing  a  heavy  drag  behind  it,  ran  it  up  and  down  the  canal  in  hopes 
that  by  stirring  up  the  bottom  there  would  be  sufficient  velocity  in  the 
canal  itself  to  move  the  silt  deposits  on  below  the  four  mile  stretch  to  a 
point  where  I  knew  the  water  had  sufficient  velocity  to  keep  the  silt 
moving.  A  month's  work,  however,  with  the  steamer  proved  that  the 
work  being  done  by  it  was  inadequate. 

We  were  confronted  then  with  the  proposition  of  doing  one  of  two 
things,  either  cutting  a  new  heading  from  the  canal  to  the  river  below 
the  silted  four  miles  section  of  the  canal,  or  else  allowing  the  Valley  to 
pass  through  another  winter  with  an  insufficient  water  supply.  The  lat- 
ter proposition  we  could  not  face  for  the  reason  that  the  people  of  the 
Imperial  Valley  had  an  absolute  right  to  demand  that  water  should  be 
furnished  them,  and  it  was  questionable  in  our  minds  as  to  whether  we 
would  be  able  to  keep  out  of  bankruptcy  if  we  were  to  be  confronted 
by  another  period  of  shortage  in  this  coming  season  of  1904-1905. 

The  cutting  of  the  lower  intake,  after  mature  deliberation  and  upon 
the  insistence  of  several  of  the  leading  men  of  the  Valley,  was  decided 
upon.  We  hesitated  about  making  this  cut,  not  so  much  because  we  be- 
lieved we  were  incurring  danger  of  the  river's  breaking  through,  as 
from  the  fact  that  we  had  been  unable  to  obtain  the  consent  of  the  Gov- 
ernment of  Mexico  to  make  it,  and  we  believed  that  we  were  jeopardiz- 


I38  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

ing  our  Mexican  rights  should  the  cut  be  made  without  the  consent  of 
the  government.  On  a  telegraphic  communication,  however,  from  our 
attorney  in  the  City  of  Mexico  to  go  ahead  and  make  the  cut,  we  did  so 
under  the  presumption  that  he  had  obtained  the  necessary  permit  from 
the  Mexican  authorities.  It  was  some  time  after  this,  in  fact  after  the 
cut  was  made  to  the  river,  before  we  discovered  that  he  had  been  unable 
to  obtain  the  formal  permit,  but  had  simply  obtained  the  promise  of  cer- 
tain officials  that  we  would  not  be  interfered  with  providing  that  plans 
were  at  once  submitted  for  the  necessary  controlling  structures  to  be 
placed  in  this  heading. 

This  lower  intake  was  constructed  not,  as  is  generally  supposed,  be- 
cause there  was  a  greater  grade  from  the  river  through  to  the  main 
canal  at  this  point.  The  grade  through  the  cut  and  the  grade  of  the  main 
canal  above  the  cut  were  approximately  the  same,  but  the  cut  was 
made  at  this  point  for  the  reason  that  the  main  canal  below  the  point 
where  the  lower  intake  joined  it  was  approximately  four  feet  deeper 
than  the  main  canal  through  the  four  miles  above  this  junction  to  the 
Chaffey  gate,  consequently  giving  us  greater  water  capacity.  In  cutting 
from  the  main  canal  to  the  river  at  this  point,  we  had  to  dredge  a  dis- 
tance of  3300  feet  only,  through  easy  material  to  remove,  while  an  at- 
tempt to  dredge  out  the  main  canal  above  would  have  required  the 
dredging  of  four  miles  of  very  difficult  material.  We  began  the  cut  the 
latter  end  of  September  and  completed  it  in  about  three  weeks. 

As  soon  as  the  cut  was  decided  upon,  elaborate  plans  for  a  controlling 
gate  were  immediately  started  and  when  completed  early  in  November 
were  immediately  forwarded  to  the  City  of  Mexico  for  approval  of  the 
engineers  of  the  Mexican  government,  without  whose  approval  we  had 
no  authority  or  right  to  construct  the  gate.  Notwithstanding  the  insist- 
ence of  our  attorney  in  the  City  of  Mexico  and  various  telegraphic  com- 
munications insisting  upon  this  approval  being  hurried,  we  were  unable 
to  obtain  it  until  twelve  months  afterward,  namely,  the  month  of  De- 
cember, 1905. 

In  the  meantime  serious  trouble  had  begun.  We  have  since  been  ac- 
cused of  gross  negligence  and  criminal  carelessness  in  making  this  cut, 
but  I  doubt  as  to  whether  anyone  should  be  accused  of  negligence  or 
carelessness  in  failing  to  foresee  that  which  had  never  happened  before. 
We  had  before  us,  at  the  time,  the  history  of  the  river  as  shown  by  the 


EARLY  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


139 


daily  rod  readings  kept  at  Yuma  for  a  period  of  twenty-seven  years.  In 
the  twenty-seven  years  there  had  been  but  three  winter  floods.  In  no 
year  of  the  twenty-seven  had  there  been  two  winter  floods.  It  was  not 
probable,  then,  in  the  winter  of  1905,  that  there  would  be  any  winter 
flood  to  enlarge  the  cut  made  by  us  and  without  doubt,  as  it  seemed  to 
us,  we  would  be  able  to  close  the  cut  before  the  approach  of  the  sum- 
mer flood  by  the  same  means  that  we  had  used  in  closing  the  cut  for 
three  successive  years  around  the  Chaffey  gate  at  the  head  of  the  canal. 

During  this  year  of  1905,  however,  we  had  more  than  one  winter 
flood.  The  first  heavy  flood  came,  I  believe,  about  the  first  of  February, 
but  did  not  enlarge  the  lower  intake ;  on  the  contrary  it  caused  such  a 
silt  deposit  in  the  lower  intake  that  I  found  it  necessary,  after  the  flood 
had  passed,  to  put  the  dredge*  through  in  order  to  deepen  the  channel 
sufficiently  to  allow  enough  water  to  come  into  the  Valley  for  the  use  of 
the  people. 

This  was  followed  shortly  by  another  heavy  flood  that  did  not  erode 
the  banks  of  the  intake  but,  on  the  contrary,  the  same  as  first,  caused  a 
deposit  of  silt  and  a  necessary  dredging.  We  were  not  alarmed  by  these 
floods,  as  it  was  still  very  early  in  the  season.  No  damage  had  been 
done  by  them  and  we  still  believed  that  there  would  be  no  difficulty 
whatever  in  closing  the  intake  before  the  approach  of  the  summer  flood, 
which  was  the  only  one  we  feared.  However,  the  first  two  floods  were 
followed  by  a  third,  coming  some  time  in  March,  and  this  was  sufficient 
notice  to  us  that  we  were  up  against  a  very  unusual  season,  something 
unknown  in  the  history  of  the  river  as  far  back  as  we  were  able  to 
reach ;  and,  as  it  was  now  approaching  the  season  of  the  year  when  we 
might  reasonably  expect  the  river  surface  to  remain  at  an  elevation  that 
would  allow  sufficient  water  for  the  uses  of  the  Valley  to  be  gotten 
through  the  upper  intake,  we  decided  to  close  the  lower. 

Work  was  immediately  begun  upon  a  dam  similar  to  the  ones  here- 
tofore successfully  used  in  closing  the  cut  around  the  Chaffey  gate.  The 
dam  was  very  nearly  completed,  when  a  fourth  flood  coming  down  the 
river  swept  it  out.  Work  was  immediately  begun  on  another  dam  which 
was  swept  away  by  the  fifth  flood  coming  down  during  this  winter 
season. 

About  this  time  I  left  for  the  east,  and,  at  the  earnest  solicitation  of 
Imperial  Water  Company  No.  1,  which  agreed  to  advance  $5000  for 


140 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


the  effort,  a  third  attempt  to  close  the  break  was  made  under  the  direc- 
tions of  Mr.  C.  N.  Perry  and  the  superintendent  of  Imperial  Water 
Company  No.  i,  Mr.  Thomas  Beach.  On  my  return  from  the  east,  on 
the  17th  of  June,  I  found  them  heroically  attempting  to  stop  the  break 
with  the  water  so  high  in  the  Colorado  that  all  of  the  banks  and  sur- 
rounding lands  were  flooded,  and  I  immediately  stopped  the  work  as  we 
realized  fully  that  nothing  could  be  done  until  after  the  summer  flood 
had  passed. 

At  this  time  the  lower  intake  had  been  enlarged  from  a  width  of 
about  sixty  feet,  as  originally  cut  with  the  dredger,  to  a  width  of  possi- 
bly 150  feet,  and  it  did  not  then  seem  probable  that  the  Colorado  River 
would  turn  its  entire  flow  through  the  cut,  but  as  the  waters  of  the  river 
began  to  fall  the  banks  of  the  intake  began  to  cave  and  run  into  the 
canal ;  the  banks  of  the  canal  below  the  intake  fell  in  and,  as  known  by 
most  of  the  residents  of  the  Valley,  the  entire  river  began  running 
through  the  canal  and  into  the  Salton  Sea  in  the  month  of  August  of 
this  year  of  1905. 

After  stopping  the  work  of  Messrs.  Perry  and  Beach  in  June  of  that 
year,  it  was  decided  that  nothing  further  should  be  done  until  the  sum- 
mer flood  had  passed.  When  that  flood  had  receded  and  we  found  that 
the  entire  river  was  coming  through  into  the  Salton  Sea,  the  question  as 
to  how  to  turn  the  river  became,  perhaps,  as  serious  a  one  from  an  en- 
gineering point  of  view,  as  had  ever  before  confronted  any  engineer 
upon  the  American  continent. 

Immediately  opposite  the  heading  of  the  lower  intake  an  island  lay 
in  the  Colorado  River  about  a  half  mile  long  and  a  quarter  of  a  mile 
wide,  being  merely  a  sand  bar  upon  which  there  had  accumulated  a 
growth  of  cottonwood  and  arrow  weed,  and  in  the  month  of  July,  while 
still  a  very  large  portion  of  the  water  was  flowing  through  the  east 
channel  along  the  Arizona  shore,  I  conceived  the  idea  that  possibly  we 
might,  by  driving  a  line  of  piling  from  the  upper  end  of  this  island  to 
the  Lower  California  shore  and  weaving  in  between  the  piling  barbed 
wire  and  brush,  create  a  sand  bar  that  would  gradually  force  all  of  the 
water  into  the  east  channel,  after  which  we  could  throw  in  a  perma- 
nent dam  across  the  lower  intake.  Under  the  supervision  of  George  Sex- 
smith,  our  dredger  foreman,  and  E.  H.  Gaines,  the  present  county  sur- 
veyor of  Imperial  County,  both  of  whom  had  been  with  us  for  years 


EARLY  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


141 


and  made  good,  this  jetty  was  started  from  the  upper  end  of  the  island 
and  directed  toward  the  California  shore  at  a  point  about  3000  feet 
above  the  island.  I  hardly  expected  this  plan  to  be  a  success,  but  there 
was  a  possibility  of  its  succeeding,  and  it  was  the  only  means  that  could 
be  adopted  that  might  turn  the  water  from  the  Salton  Sea  quickly 
enough  to  prevent  the  necessity  of  moving  the  Southern  Pacific  tracks  ; 
and  also,  if  successful,  it  was  the  most  economical  means  of  turning  the 
river.  We  succeeded  in  building  a  bar  throughout  the  length  of  about 
2800  feet,  but  there  was  left  an  opening,  approximately  125  feet  long, 
through  which  the  rush  of  water  was  too  great  to  control.  This  work 
was  abandoned  about  the  first  of  August. 

The  one  plan  that  I  had  advised,  that  I  felt  surely  would  succeed, 
was  to  construct  a  gate  of  sufficient  size  to  carry  the  entire  low  water 
flow  of  the  river,  believing  that  when  the  water  was  turned  through  this 
gate  we  could,  by  closing  the  gates,  raise  the  water  to  an  elevation  that 
would  throw  it  down  its  original  channel.  This  plan  was  fully  discussed 
with  Mr.  Randolph  and  with  our  consulting  engineer,  Mr.  James  D. 
Schuyler,  as  well  as  with  engineers  of  the  Southern  Pacific,  who  fully 
agreed  as  to  the  feasibility  of  that  plan,  and  who  expressed  their  belief 
that  no  other  plan  gave  as  great  assurance  of  success.  Mr.  H.  T.  Cory, 
who  was  at  that  time  Mr.  Randolph's  assistant  and  confidential  man 
at  Tucson,  was  sent  from  Tucson  to  examine  into  my  plans  and  to  re- 
port to  Mr.  Randolph  upon  their  feasibility.  At  Mr.  Cory's  suggestion, 
an  engineer  from  San  Francisco  was  brought  down  to  go  over  the 
works.  Both  Mr.  Cory  and  his  friend  agreed  upon  the  feasibility  of  the 
gate  plan.  Every  one  interested  agreeing,  I  then,  on  rush  orders,  got  to- 
gether all  material  necessary  for  the  construction  of  this  gate,  the  floor 
of  which  was  to  be  of  concrete  on  a  pile  foundation  with  a  wooden 
superstructure,  and  it  was  my  expectation  to  have  the  entire  structure 
completed  by  the  middle  of  November,  1905.  If  I  remember  correctly, 
the  first  material  for  this  structure  left  Los  Angeles  on  the  7th  day  of 
August,  1905. 

It  had  been  my  intention  originally  to  construct  the  gate  in  a  channel 
to  be  built  by  the  dredge  west  of  the  intake,  but  the  soil  proving  of  a 
quicksand  formation  and  saturated  with  water,  I  found  it  difficult  to 
make  this  excavation,  and  after  working  a  few  days  I  abandoned  that 
idea  and  decided  to  construct  a  by-pass  immediately  east  of  the  intake 


I42  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

channel  through  which  I  would  force  the  water  of  the  river  and  would 
then  build  a  gate  in  the  intake  itself.  The  intake  at  this  point  was  about 
300  feet  in  width,  no  more  than  we  would  require  for  rapid  and  success- 
ful construction  of  the  work. 

The  dredger  was  immediately  put  to  work  upon  the  by-pass  and  this 
material  was  so  easily  moved  that  the  dredger  found  no  difficulty  what- 
ever in  making  the  short  cut  of  about  700  feet  that  was  required,  and 
as  soon  as  the  cut  was  made  a  large  portion  of  the  water  in  the  intake 
began  naturally  to  pass  through ;  and  work  was  begun  upon  the  first 
dam  required  to  force  all  of  the  water  through  the  by-pass,  it  being  the 
intention  that  when  this  dam  was  completed  and  all  of  the  water  was 
going  through  the  by-pass  to  throw  in  another  dam  about  250  feet  be- 
low the  first  in  order  to  inclose  that  portion  of  the  intake  to  be  used  as  a 
site  for  the  gate ;  the  second  dam  being  built  in  still  water,  would  have 
required  only  two  or  three  days'  work  with  the  dredger,  as  it  would 
have  been  simply  an  earthen  bank  thrown  up  by  that  machine. 

It  was  at  this  time  that  I  decided  that  it  would  be  necessary  for  me 
to  either  put  some  one  at  the  river  to  take  absolute  charge  of  the  con- 
struction of  the  gate  and  the  closing  of  the  river,  or  else  it  would  be 
necessary  to  put  some  one  in  the  Los  Angeles  office  to  handle  the  busi- 
ness affairs  of  the  company,  as  I  found  that  I  was  spending  fully  one- 
third  of  my  time  on  the  train  between  Los  Angeles  and  Yuma  and  that 
the  strain  was  becoming  too  great  and  that  either  work  required  my 
presence  all  the  time.  I  met  Mr.  Randolph  about  the  middle  of  Septem- 
ber and  discussed  the  question  with  him  and  he  fully  agreed  with  me 
that  I  could  not  fill  both  positions,  and  also  agreed  with  me  that  it 
would  be  easier  to  find  some  one  capable  of  completing  the  gate  in  ac- 
cordance with  the  plans  outlined,  than  it  would  be  to  find  some  one  to 
take  charge  of  the  business  end  of  affairs  of  the  company,  as  no  one  but 
Mr.  Heber  and  myself  knew  fully  in  regard  to  all  contracts  that  had 
been  entered  into.  Mr.  Randolph  asked  me  who  I  had  in  mind  for  the 
river  work  and  upon  my  replying  that  I  had  not  decided,  he  suggested 
that  Mr.  F.  S.  Edinger  would  be  the  right  man  if  we  could  get  him.  1 
did  not  know  Mr.  Edinger  intimately,  but  had  known  him  for  several 
years  as  the  superintendent  of  bridges  for  the  Southern  Pacific  Rail- 
road. He  had  built  the  bridge  at  Yuma  and  I  believed  him  to  be  a  man 
of  integrity  and  of  great  ability,  and  I  concurred  with  Mr.  Randolph  in 


EARLY  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


143 


the  wisdom  of  placing  Mr.  Edinger  in  charge  of  the  work  at  the  river, 
providing  his  services  could  be  obtained.  He  had  left  the  employ  of  the 
Southern  Pacific  about  three  months  previously  and  was  then  interested 
with  the  contracting  firm  of  Shattuck  &  Desmond  of  Los  Angeles  and 
San  Francisco,  with  headquarters  at  San  Francisco. 

I  had  to  leave  the  following  day  for  San  Francisco  in  order  to  pass 
upon  the  plans  for  the  concrete  head  gate  which  were  being  gotten  out 
by  our  consulting  engineer,  Mr.  James  D.  Schuyler.  In  San  Francisco  I 
attempted  to  find  Mr.  Edinger,  but  learned  that  he  was  in  Arizona. 
On  my  return  to  Los  Angeles,  I  found  a  letter  from  Mr.  Randolph  stat- 
ing that  he  had  met  Mr.  Edinger  in  Tucson  and  had  arranged  with  him 
to  take  entire  charge  of  the  work  at  the  river  for  the  construction  of 
the  gate  in  accordance  with  my  plans ;  he  requested  me  to  go  to  Yuma 
with  Mr.  Edinger  and  turn  the  entire  work  over  to  him.  Mr.  Edinger 
had  left  for  San  Francisco,  but  returned  in  three  or  four  days,  when  I 
accompanied  him  to  the  river,  discussed  with  him  the  entire  gate  plans, 
went  with  him  over  the  ground  and  turned  at  the  time  the  entire  work 
over  to  him.  He  expressed  himself  as  entirely  satisfied  with  the  plans 
of  this  gate  and  as  believing  that  the  gate  could  be  put  in  place  much 
easier  than  I  had  anticipated,  but  agreed  with  me  that  if  I  was  erring 
it  was  on  the  side  of  safety,  and  that  the  work  would  go  ahead  as  out- 
lined by  me.  He  said  that  it  would  be  necessary  for  him  to  return  to  San 
Francisco  at  once  in  order  to  obtain  some  additional  pumping  machin- 
ery, which  we  decided  we  would  require,  and  also  to  get  several  of  his 
old  men  whom  he  thought  would  be  of  very  material  assistance  to  him 
in  carrying  through  the  new  work  rapidly. 

He  went  to  San  Francisco  and  was  to  return  in  a  week.  He  did  not 
return  for  two  weeks,  and  when  he  did  return  passed  through  Los  An- 
geles without  notifying  me.  He  went  to  the  river,  and  at  this  time  we 
were  having  what  we  ordinarily  expect  about  the  first  of  October,  a 
slight  rise  in  the  river  of  two  or  three  feet.  This  rise  I  had  been  ex- 
pecting and  hoping  for,  as  I  believed  it  would  enlarge  the  by-pass  and 
would,  without  the  aid  of  the  dam,  throw  a  larger  amount  of  the  river 
water  through  the  by-pass. 

Mr.  Edinger,  according  to  statements  made  to  me,  remained  on  the 
work  at  this  time  but  a  few  minutes,  when  he  returned  to  Yuma  and 
took  the  first  train  for  Tucson  to  see  Mr.  Randolph,  to  whom  he  said 


144 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


that  neither  he  nor  any  other  man  could  build  that  gate  and  put  it  in 
place  and  that  he  would  not  undertake  it.  He  had  plans  for  the  construc- 
tion of  a  dam  across  the  west  channel  from  the  head  of  the  island  direct 
to  the  Lower  California  shore,  a  distance  of  about  600  feet,  by  means 
of  which  he  said  he  would  be  able  to  turn  the  water  down  the  east  chan- 
nel. He  claimed  that  he  could  do  this  work  in  much  quicker  time  than 
the  gate  could  be  put  in,  even  if  the  gate  could  be  built  at  all,  which  he 
denied.  Mr.  Randolph,  who  had  great  faith  in  Mr.  Edinger's  experience 
and  ability,  agreed  to  this  change  of  plan  without  consultation  with  me, 
and  authorized  Mr.  Edinger  to  remove  all  material  from  the  gate  site, 
and  to  proceed  at  once  with  the  construction  of  what  was  afterward 
known  as  the  Edinger  Dam.  This  was  on  a  Thursday  that  Mr.  Edinger 
went  to  Tucson.  On  Friday  they  started  to  move  all  material  to  the  site 
of  the  Edinger  Dam,  and  I  knew  nothing  at  all  of  this  change  of  plan 
until  the  following  Monday,  when  I  was  notified  by  Mr.  Randolph  in 
Los  Angeles  of  what  he  had  done. 

The  dam  met  with  several  mishaps ;  Edinger  was  very  much  longer 
in  its  construction  than  he  had  estimated.  One  of  the  foundation  mats 
had  broken,  and  though  it  was  held  in  place,  I  did  not  believe,  nor  did 
other  engineers  believe  who  examined  the  work,  that  it  would  be  a  suc- 
cess. On  the  29th  day  of  November,  Edinger  had  succeeded  in  raising 
the  water  thirty-five  inches  by  means  of  the  dam  and  had  some  water 
going  down  the  east  channel.  In  order  to  have  turned  all  the  water  down 
the  east  channel,  it  would  have  been  necessary  to  have  raised  the  water 
to  a  height  of  between  eight  and  ten  feet,  and  it  is  exceedingly  doubtful 
if  the  structure  would  have  stood  the  pressure,  but  that  is  merely  a  mat- 
ter of  surmise. 

On  the  29th  of  November  a  very  heavy  flood  came  down  the  river 
and  the  entire  structure  was  washed  away  and  the  work  was  abandoned. 

Whether  or  not  the  first  gate  planned  would  have  been  completed  be- 
fore the  flood  of  November  29th,  is  a  matter  of  conjecture.  No  man  can 
tell  positively,  but,  judging  from  the  tremendous  work  evolved  in  the 
construction  of  the  second  gate,  which  would  not  have  been  incurred 
in  the  construction  of  the  first,  and  judging,  too,  from  the  rapidity  with 
which  the  second  gate  was  put  in  place,  it  is  my  opinion  and  the  opinion 
of  others  who  were  able  to  judge,  that  the  first  gate  would  have  been 
in  place  before  the  flood  came  down ;  and  that  gate,  with  its  concrete 


EARLY  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


145 


floor,  would  have  stood  the  pressure  that  would  have  been  placed  upon 
it,  in  which  case  the  river  would  have  been  turned  in  November,  1905, 
and  at  a  cost  that  would  not  have  exceeded  $125,000. 

On  the  15th  day  of  December,  1905,  I  was  authorized  to  go  ahead 
again  with  the  construction  of  what  has  been  known  as  the  Rockwood 
Gate.  The  heavy  flood  of  November  29th  had  enlarged  the  intake  from 
a  width  of  300  feet  to  a  width  of  approximately  600  feet.  It  had  taken 
out  the  island  between  the  by-pass  and  the  intake,  and  as  we  could  not 
hope  for  the  completion  of  the  new  gate  before  April,  1906,  by  which 
time  we  might  possibly  have  high  water  in  the  river,  it  seemed  an  unsafe 
proposition  to  attempt  to  build  the  gate  in  the  old  channel.  After  looking 
over  the  ground,  then,  I  decided  to  build  the  new  gate  directly  in  the 
main  canal  and  to  carry  the  water  around  the  gate  by  means  of  a  new 
canal  to  be  built.  The  first  gate  was  planned  for  a  width  of  120  feet  and 
to  carry  a  maximum  of  nine  thousand  cubic  feet  per  second,  which  was 
the  estimated  amount  of  water  that  might  be  in  the  river  in  the  month 
of  November,  1905,  at  which  time  I  had  expected  to  have  the  gate  com- 
pleted. The  Yuma  records  show  that  the  amount  of  water  flowing  in  the 
river  previous  to  the  flood  of  November  29th  could  have  been  success- 
fully carried  through  a  gate  of  the  width  planned.  As  the  new  gate  could 
not  be  completed  until  the  spring  of  1906,  I  decided  that  it  would  have 
to  be  built  larger  than  previously  planned  in  order  to  carry  the  larger 
amount  of  water  that  might  be  expected  in  the  river  at  that  time ;  conse- 
quently, it  was  planned  with  a  width  of  200  feet. 

The  dimensions  of  the  new  gate,  including  its  wooden  aprons,  was  to 
be  over  all  240  feet  by  10  feet.  Instead  of  having  a  clear  cut  channel  to 
work  in,  as  we  had  for  the  first  gate,  the  entire  space  had  to  be  enclosed 
in  a  coffer-dam,  and  the  excavation  made  from  the  interior  of  this  enclo- 
sure. The  work  involved  was  such  that  the  time  required,  as  well  as 
the  expense,  was  fully  twice  as  great  as  required  for  the  construction  of 
the  first  gate. 

Mr.  Randolph,  while  giving  his  permission  to  go  ahead  with  this  con- 
struction, expressed  doubt  of  our  ability  to  put  the  floor  of  the  gate 
down  to  the  elevation  that  I  expected  to  reach.  I  succeeded  in  placing 
the  floor  one  foot  below  the  elevation  proposed  in  the  original  plan  and 
the  gate,  except  for  its  rock  aprons,  which  were  never  built,  was  com- 
pleted on  the  18th  day  of  April,  1906,  practically  within  the  time  I  had 


I46  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

estimated,  although  at  a  very  much  greater  cost.  But  we  had  had  high 
water  in  the  river  since  about  the  first  of  March,  and  at  this  time  some 
22,000  cubic  feet  per  second  were  passing  down  the  channel ;  and,  while 
I  believe  that  the  gate  might  successfully  carry  15,000  feet,  it  seemed 
foolish  to  place  a  test  upon  it,  at  this  time,  against  a  rising  river,  as  it 
was  exceedingly  doubtful  if  we  would  be  able  to  construct  a  dam  across 
the  600  feet  of  channel  with  the  means  at  our  disposal  before  the  sunn 
mer  flood  should  be  upon  us ;  consequently,  we  decided  to  stop  the  work 
until  after  the  summer  flood  of  1906  should  have  passed. 

I  had  found,  at  this  time,  that  it  was  impossible  for  me  to  manage  the 
affairs  of  the  company  in  accordance  with  my  ideas,  and  unless  I  could 
do  so,  I  believed  that  it  was  best  for  the  stockholders  of  the  company 
that  I  should  resign  as  assistant  general  manager,  which  I  did  the  latter 
part  of  April,  1906.  Mr.  H.  T.  Cory  was  then  made  general  manager 
and  I  became  the  consulting  engineer. 

After  the  summer  flood  had  passed  Mr.  Cory  moved  his  headquarters 
to  the  river  and  took  complete  charge  of  the  work. 

At  this  time,  due  to  the  summer  flood  of  1906,  the  intake  had  again 
been  enlarged  from  600  feet  to  approximately  2600  feet,  and  the  work 
of  filling  was  of  such  a  magnitude  that  we  decided  it  would  be  impossi- 
ble to  accomplish  it  in  the  time  at  our  disposal  except  by  means  of  a 
branch  road  to  be  built  a  distance  of  seven  miles  from  the  Southern  Pa- 
cific main  line  across  the  intake,  on  the  site  of  the  proposed  dam.  The 
construction  of  this  line,  which  was  immediately  begun,  gave  us  the  op- 
portunity to  throw  a  spur  track  in  front  of  the  gate  and  assure  its  safety, 
as  it  would  permit  rock  to  be  dumped  either  on  the  gate  or  in  front  of  it 
in  case  serious  erosion  should  occur ;  but  the  spur  was  not  built  until 
too  late.  The  rock  aprons  that  I  had  intended  to  build  above  and  below 
the  gate  had  not  been  put  in,  which  omission  allowed  whirlpools  to  start 
in  front  of  the  gate  which  dug  a  hole  below  the  sheet  piling.  The  spur 
was  then  completed  as  rapidly  as  possible  in  order  to  bring  in  rock  to  fill 
the  hole,  but  when  the  first  trainload  of  rock  started  across  the  spur  on 
the  morning  of  October  nth,  a  part  of  the  trestle  gave  way  and  the 
train  was  thrown  from  the  track,  and  at  three  o'clock  in  the  afternoon 
the  gate  rose  and  went  out.  I  was  not  on  the  ground  at  the  time,  having 
resigned  as  consulting  engineer  in  October. 

Previous  to  this,  however,  this  gate,  which  had  been  planned  to  carry 


EARLY  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


147 


12,000  cubic  feet  of  water  per  second  on  an  even  flow,  had  been  carry- 
ing for  a  period  of  nearly  two  weeks  far  in  excess  of  the  amount,  and, 
due  to  the  drift  which  had  been  allowed  to  accumulate  in  front  of  it,  this 
water,  instead  of  going  through  smoothly,  was  going  through  with  an 
overpour  exceeding  four  feet  in  height. 

Whether  the  structure  would  have  stood  the  strain  had  this  spur  been 
completed  in  time  and  had  the  rock  aprons  shown  in  my  original  plans 
been  built,  no  man  can  tell,  but  it  is  my  belief  and  that  of  other  experi- 
enced engineers  who  examined  it,  that  it  would  have  stood  and  would 
have  done  the  work  for  which  it  was  planned,  and  would  have  been 
there  today. 

After  the  Rockwood  Gate,  so-called,  went  out.  I  understand  that  Mr. 
Randolph  decided  to  throw  a  mat  and  brush  dam  across  the  river  chan- 
nel below  the  intake  of  the  concrete  gate,  which  was  built  under  my  di- 
rection the  winter  before,  and  to  force  all  the  water  through  it.  He  was 
dissuaded,  as  I  have  been  told,  from  this  plan  by  Thomas  Hind,  who 
had  been  previously  in  charge  of  the  work  at  the  river  under  my  direc- 
tions, and  who  was,  at  the  time  of  the  going  out  of  the  Rockwood  Gate, 
foreman  under  H.  T.  Cory  in  charge  of  the  river  work.  Hind  said  he 
could  close  the  river  and  force  the  water  back  into  the  old  channel  by 
main  force,  providing  they  could  furnish  him  with  rock  fast  enough. 
They  decided  upon  adopting  this  plan,  which,  at  the  time,  was  in  all 
probability  the  only  one  that  could  have  been  adopted  that  would  have 
succeeded  in  quick  enough  time  to  prevent  the  necessity  of  again  moving 
the  Southern  Pacific  tracks  to  the  high  grade  level  which  they  had  been 
building  at  an  elevation  of  100  feet  below  sea  level  around  the  Salton 
Sea. 

Mr.  Randolph  succeeded  in  getting  the  Southern  Pacific  to  agree  to 
this  plan  of  procedure  which  necessitated,  practically,  the  turning  over 
of  the  entire  trackage  facilities  of  the  Southern  Pacific  to  this  work. 

Quarries  from  all  over  the  country  were  brought  into  requisition  and 
passenger  trains  were  ordered  to  give  way  to  the  rock  trains  that  would 
be  required ;  and  what  is  probably  one  of  the  most  gigantic  works  ever 
done  by  man  in  an  equal  length  of  time  was  then  inaugurated,  and  the 
work  of  filling  the  channel  began.  Most  of  the  cars  used  were  of  the  pat- 
tern called  battleships,  carrying  fifty  cubic  yards  of  rock,  and  the  trains 
were  so  handled  that  for  several  days,  or  until  the  fill  was  above  the  dan- 


148  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

ger  point,  one  car  of  rock  was  dumped  on  the  average  of  every  five  min- 
utes, night  and  day.  This  plan  was  successful.  The  Hind  Dam  was  com- 
pleted and  the  water  turned  down  its  old  channel  toward  the  Gulf  of 
California  on  the  4th  of  November,  1908. 

The  river  did  not  stay  long  turned,  however.  A  few  weeks  after  the 
closure  had  been  made,  a  flood  came  down  the  river  which  broke  under 
the  earth  levees  which  had  been  constructed  from  the  Hind  Dam  down 
the  river  for  the  purpose  of  preventing  an  overflow  from  entering  the 
channel  below  the  dam. 

The  floods  which  had  occurred  during  the  year  1905- 1906  had  caused 
a  deep  deposit  of  silt  upon  the  lands  below  the  dam.  This  silt  deposit  was 
filled  with  cracks,  and  when  the  Hind  Dam  was  completed,  the  water  at 
first  raised  above  the  natural  ground  surface  and  lay  against  the  levee  to 
a  depth  of  from  four  to  eight  inches  in  the  neighborhood  of  where  the 
second  break  occurred. 

Even  this  slight  pressure  of  water  found  its  way  beneath  the  levee  in 
many  different  places,  and  a  large  gang  of  men  was  required  to  prevent 
it  from  breaking ;  but  nothing  was  done  to  make  it  safe,  and  when  the 
next  flood  came  down  the  river  in  December,  1906,  it  broke  under  the 
levee  and  again  the  water  turned  down  to  the  Salton  Sea. 

This  second  break  was  closed  in  the  same  manner  as  the  first  had 
been,  on  the  nth  day  of  February,  1907.  After  repairing  the  second 
break  the  levees  were  rebuilt  and  extended  farther  down  the  river  and, 
in  my  opinion,  they  will  now  stand  any  pressure  that  may  come  against 
them,  and  I  believe  that  the  people  of  the  Imperial  Valley  are  now  en- 
tirely safe  from  the  probability  of  destruction  due  to  future  floods  in  the 
Colorado  River,  and  that  these  floods  may  not  occur,  not  because  it  is 
impossible  that  the  flood  waters  of  the  Colorado  should  again  find  their 
way  to  the  Salton  Sea,  but  as  the  river  has  been  twice  turned,  it  can  be 
turned  again  by  the  same  means  should  it  ever  become  necessary  to  do 
so. 

The  people  of  the  Imperial  Valley  have  naturally  expected  great 
things  of  the  management  of  the  Southern  Pacific,  believing  that  an  en- 
terprise backed  by  all  its  millions  and  its  natural  interest  in  the  develop- 
ment of  the  traffic  would  at  once  surge  ahead ;  that  all  necessary  work  to 
put  the  entire  enterprise  in  a  safe  and  satisfactory  condition  for  the 
distribution  of  water  would  be  done,  and  that  the  work  would  be  rapid- 


EARLY  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


149 


ly  carried  on  to  cover  the  entire  acreage  available  for  irrigation  within 
the  Valley. 

Two  years  have  now  passed  since  the  final  closure  was  made,  and  on 
the  20th  day  of  next  June  four  years  will  have  passed  since  the  South- 
ern Pacific  assumed  absolute  charge  of  the  management  of  the  affairs 
of  the  California  Development  Company,  and  yet,  during  that  time,  I 
doubt  if  sixty  miles  of  new  canals  and  ditches  have  been  built,  and  I, 
doubt  if  to  exceed  5000  more  people  are  now  in  the  Valley  than  were 
here  on  the  20th  day  of  June,  1905. 

The  old  company,  hampered  as  it  was  by  lack  of  funds  and  the  er- 
roneous beliefs  of  the  world  regarding  the  possibilities  of  this  region, 
began  its  work  of  construction  at  the  Colorado  River  in  September, 

1900.  It  brought  the  first  little  trickle  of  water  down  through  what  is 
now  known  as  the  Boundary  Ditch  at  Calexico  on  the  21st  day  of  June, 

1901.  It  was  not  able  to  turn  water  into  its  main  canal  for  irrigation 
until  March,  1902.  Practically  then  the  history  of  development  in  the 
hands  of  the  old  management,  dates  from  the  time  when  we  turned  over 
the  management  to  the  Southern  Pacific  on  the  20th  day  of  June,  1905; 
a  period  of  four  years.  During  that  time,  in  spite  of  all  that  we  had 
during  the  early  period  to  overcome,  we  built  nearly  800  miles  of  can- 
als; we  sold  water  rights  covering  approximately  210,000  acres  of  land, 
and  we  brought  into  the  Valley  not  less  than  15,000  people. 

It  must  be  remembered  though  that  nearly  two  years  of  the  Southern 
Pacific  control  was  spent  in  turning  the  floods  that  threatened  to  de- 
stroy all,  that  it  has  been  hampered  by  many  adverse  court  decisions 
against  the  California  Development  Company,  and  it  is  a  question  as 
to  whether  any  financial  men  placed  in  the  same  position  that  they  are 
would  have  done  more  than  they  have,  except  that  a  different  adminis- 
tration might  have  before  this  cleared  the  ground  for  future  action  and 
might  have  effected  a  reorganization  which  must  undoubtedly  be  ac- 
complished before  the  great  work  can  again  go  ahead  smoothly. 

Court  decisions  have  been  rendered  which  would  naturally  make  the 
Southern  Pacific,  or  any  financial  institution  in  its  place,  hesitate  before 
spending  more  money  in  the  Valley  for  the  benefit  of  others.  The  de- 
cision of  the  United  States  Federal  Court  gave  to  the  Liverpool  Salt 
Company  in  a  suit  which  it  brought  against  the  California  Development 
Company  for  destroying  its  works  a  judgment  of  $450,000.  The  South- 


150  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

ern  Pacific  does  not,  naturally,  care  to  pay  this  judgment.  Some  of  the 
people  of  the  Imperial  Valley  combined  and  assigned  to  one  Jones  in- 
numerable claims  for  damages,  some  real,  some  fictitious,  all  exag- 
gerated, but  aggregating  in  the  total  amount  some  $470,000.  The  South- 
ern Pacific  cannot  be  responsible  for  that  damage,  nor  does  it  care  to 
create  additional  wealth,  additional  assets,  for  the  California  Develop- 
ment Company  that  might  be  taken  to  pay  those  damage  claims  should 
Jones  succeed  in  obtaining  a  judgment  against  the  company. 

I  understand  that  plans  had  been  drawn  and  consent  had  been  given 
for  the  expenditure  of  a  large  amount  of  money  for  the  construction  of 
permanent  gates  in  the  main  canal,  above  Sharps,  when  a  decision  ren- 
dered by  the  Federal  Court  in  Los  Angeles  cast  doubt  upon  the  legality 
of  the  contracts  entered  into  between  the  mutual  companies  and  the 
California  Development  Company,  and  also  threw  a  serious  doubt  upon 
the  value  of  all  water  stocks  and  upon  the  value  of  future  investments 
that  might  be  made  by  the  Southern  Pacific  in  the  canal  system.  Follow- 
ing this  decision  then  they  ordered  all  work  stopped  and  notified  the 
present  management  of  the  California  Development  Company  that  it 
must  depend  entirely  upon  its  resources  obtained  from  water  rentals  or 
from  the  sale  of  such  water  stocks  as  people  might  see  fit  to  buy. 

(The  decision  referred  to  above  was  reversed  by  Judge  Welborn  in 
February,  1900. — Ed.). 

If  these  water  rentals  were  paid  promptly  it  is  doubtful  if  they 
would  be  sufficient  to  operate  successfully  the  system,  but  I  understand 
they  have  not  been  all  paid  and  the  present  management  of  the  com- 
pany, like  the  old,  is  hampered  in  its  work  by  inadequate  funds. 

A  new  chapter  has  now  been  opened  in  the  affairs  of  the  Valley  and 
in  the  affairs  of  the  California  Development  Company  by  a  suit  brought 
on  the  9th  day  of  January,  1909,  against  the  company  by  the  Southern 
Pacific  for,  approximately,  $1,400,000,  the  company  suing  on  promis- 
sory notes  given  to  the  Southern  Pacific  Railroad  Company  and  by  the 
Southern  Pacific  management  of  the  California  Development  Com- 
pany. We  may  hope,  however,  that  instead  of  this  suit  further  com- 
plicating the  situation  and  retarding  development  indefinitely,  that  it 
may  prove  an  advantage  to  all  concerned  by  clearing  the  ground  and 
leaving  it  clean  for  future  growth. 


EARLY  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY  l5j 

Fight  on  for  C.  D.  Control.  A  Late  Letter  from  Mr.  Rockwood 

Los  Angeles,  Cal.,  May  12,  1909. 
To  the  people  of  Imperial  Valley: 

It  is  with  regret  that  I  announce  to  you  that  on  Saturday,  May  8, 
1909,  Mr.  W.  F.  Herrin,  the  head  of  the  legal  department  of  the  South- 
ern Pacific,  acting  for  that  company,  decided  not  to  accept  the  propo- 
sition recently  made  by  the  stockholders  of  the  California  Development 
Company,  whereby  we  agreed  to  sell  to  the  Southern  Pacific  Company 
all  of  the  stock  of  the  C.  D.  Co.,  for  $250,000,  being  $20  per  share,  or 
one-fifth  of  its  par  value.  The  price  at  which  we  offered  the  stock  equals 
only  about  $1  per  acre  for  the  lands  now  under  water  stock  and  25  cents 
per  acre  for  the  total  irrigable  area  of  the  Valley. 

The  revenues  from  water  rentals  for  this  year,  1909,  will  equal  the 
total  amount  that  we  have  asked  the  Southern  Pacific  Company  to  pay 
us  for  our  equity  in  this  great  enterprise,  that  was  with  your  help  and 
theirs  created  by  us,  an  enterprise  that,  though  still  in  its  infancy,  too 
young  as  yet  to  even  dream  the  story  of  its  future  greatness,  increased 
the  revenues  of  the  great  Southern  Pacific  Company  during  the  year 
1908  by  nearly  two  and  one-half  million  dollars.  They  will  undoubtedly 
deny  these  figures  and  I  cannot  prove  them,  but  my  information  came 
directly  from  a  high  official  of  the  company,  whose  name  I  will  not  give 
as  such  information  is  not  for  us  common  people,  and  I  do  not  wish  to 
embarrass  my  friend  by  subjecting  him  to  reprimand  from  the  higher 
ups. 

The  little  we  have  asked  them  to  pay  us  out  of  their  much  is,  we  be- 
lieve, far  below  the  sum  that  we  are  justly  entitled  to  for  our  part  in 
building  up  this  Imperial  empire  of  the  southwest.  A  year  ago  we  made 
a  proposition  to  the  Southern  Pacific  Company  to  settle  our  differences. 
They  refused  it.  We  have  made  others  since,  all  of  which  have  been 
ignored,  and  they  never  made  to  us  a  counter  proposition,  unless  that 
we  pay  back  to  them  all  of  the  money  they  have  squandered  in  misman- 
aging our  affairs,  with  interest,  be  considered  a  proposition.  This  sum, 
which  includes  freight  at  $12  a  ton,  $18  per  cubic  yard,  on  much  of  the 
rock  that  was  used  in  closing  the  break,  amounts,  according  to  their 
statement,  to  approximately  $4,000,000,  and  unless  we  are  prepared  to 
pay  them  this  sum  they  have  decided  that  we  who  have  created  for 


152 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


them  a  revenue  of  $2,500,000  per  year,  are  entitled  to  no  consideration 
from  them. 

This  is  of  interest  to  you,  of  vital  interest,  and  for  that  reason  I  am 
taking  you  into  my  confidence  and  telling  you  these  things  that  mean 
the  retarding  of  the  development  of  our  great  Valley  unless  we,  the 
stockholders  and  owners  of  the  California  Development  Company,  who 
conceived  and  planned  this  enterprise  and  put  into  it  our  all,  give  up 
that  all  to  satisfy  the  rapacity  of  the  Southern  Pacific  Company. 

When  we  offered  them  the  stock  at  $20  per  share  we  offered  them 
nearly  all.  We  offered  it  because  we  are  weak  as  compared  with  their 
great  strength,  and  because  we  hoped  that  if  we  gave  them  title  to  the 
property  that  they  would  use  their  great  power  and  resources  to  devel- 
op it.  I  am  informed  that  the  attorneys  for  the  Southern  Pacific  in  Los 
Angeles  and  San  Francisco  advised  settlement  on  this  basis,  that  this 
was  also  the  desire  of  Messrs.  Cory  and  Doran,  the  Southern  Pacific 
managers  of  the  California  Development  Company,  but  Mr.  Espes  Ran- 
dolph and  Mr.  W.  F.  Herrin  control,  and  they  decided  against  it,  and 
instructed  the  Los  Angeles  attorney  to  begin  marshaling  their  legal 
hosts  against  us. 

The  fight  is  on.  I  am  sorry  for  your  sakes  as  well  as  my  own,  but  I 
think  there  are  but  few  of  you  who  can  in  your  hearts  expect  or  ask 
us  to  do  more  than  we  have.  Personally  I  have  given  sixteen  years  out  of 
the  middle  of  my  life  in  turning  the  Colorado  Desert  into  the  Imperial 
Valley.  I  have  succeeded,  not  alone  to  be  sure.  Without  the  help  of  the 
brains  and  money  of  my  associates  I  could  have  done  nothing.  Without 
the  help  of  the  Southern  Pacific  in  time  to  save  all  our  efforts  might 
have  been  fruitless,  but  that  they  did  save  no  more  entitles  them  to  say 
to  us,  the  stockholders,  give  us  all  in  payment,  than  it  does  to  say  to  you, 
give  us  the  farm  we  saved  for  you. 

I  try  not  to  be  egotistical,  but  when  I  now  ride  through  our  fields  of 
waving  grain  and  look  miles  across  broad  acres  of  alfalfa,  dotted  here 
and  there  with  comfortable  homes,  and  the  evidence  of  a  prosperous 
people,  and  think  of  that  day,  more  than  sixteen  years  back,  when, 
without  a  wagon  track  or  trail  to  guide  me,  I  first  crossed  the  then  unin- 
habitated  solitude,  I  know  that  I  have  accomplished  that  which  is  given 
to  but  few  to  do,  and  while  my  reward  is  mostly  in  doing  that  which  I 
undertook  to  do,  still  I  believe  that  in  my  work  I  have  honestly  earned 


EARLY  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


153 


in  that  visible  evidence  of  success,  money,  a  competency.  But  I  do  not 
expect  it  now  out  of  my  work  in  the  Valley  unless  I  can  acquire  it  in 
the  future  through  the  same  opportunities  that  have  been  given  to  you. 

Personally  I  own  712  shares  of  California  Development  Company 
stock.  At  the  price  it  was  offered  to  the  Southern  Pacific  Company  I 
would  have  received  $16,240,  not  a  very  magnificent  money  reward  to 
be  sure;  but  even  this  they  refused,  and  now  to  get  it  or  anything  I 
must  fight  through  the  long,  tedious  process  of  the  courts.  In  the  fight 
I,  we,  want  and  hope  to  receive  the  sympathy  and  moral  support  of  the 
Valley  people. 

The  time  must  come  when  you,  the  people,  will  own  the  great  water 
system  on  which  you  are  so  entirely  dependent,  and  now  that  your  land 
titles  are  being  adjusted  the  time  may  be  not  far  away  when  you  can 
offer  a  security  that  would  permit  you  to  purchase.  Hope  then,  for  your 
own  sakes,  if  not  for  ours,  that  we  may  win,  for  undoubtedly  the  price 
we  will  ask  of  you  will  be  but  a  small  part  of  the  demands  of  the  South- 
ern Pacific  Company. 

I  believe  that  in  this  fight  we  are  legally  and  morally  right,  and  that 
the  courts  of  our  land  will  not  oblige  us,  or  you,  to  return  to  the  South- 
ern Pacific  Company  the  millions  unnecessarily  spent,  and  spent  in  any 
case  not  for  our  protection  but  for  their  own,  and  I  believe  we  will  win, 
and  if  we  do,  you  do. 

Requesting   then   your   patience   and   your   continued   good-will,    I 

remain, 

Yours  sincerely, 

C.  R.  Rockwood. 


CHAPTER  IV 
IRRIGATION 

BY  EDGAR  F.  HOWE 

When  Congressman  Roberts  of  Pennsylvania  had  traversed  the  desert 
to  enter  Imperial  Valley,  he  said :  "The  one  incomprehensible  fact  with 
me  is  that  you  people  came  here.  Now  that  you  are  here  and  have 
brought  about  this  marvelous  development,  I  can  well  understand  why 
you  stay  here.  But  how  did  it  happen  that  you  came  out  into  this  Valley 
when  it  was  such  a  forbidding  desert  as  I  have  seen  in  coming  here? — 
that  is  the  mystery." 

Congressman  Roberts  did  not  realize  that  there  is  in  America  a 
nomadic  race  of  beings,  always  pressing  toward  the  frontier  and  carv- 
ing empires  to  endure  for  the  ages.  Here  in  Imperial  Valley,  last  of  the 
American  frontiers,  they  saw  their  opportunity,  and  we  may  believe 
that  as  they  settled  down  near  the  river  to  make  new  habitation  they 
but  duplicated  the  processes  of  the  ancient  Assyrians  and  Egyptians, 
throwing  off  the  nomadic  instinct  for  the  time  being  and  adding  to  the 
processes  of  the  ancients  the  skill  of  the  moderns. 

It  was  no  accident  that  brought  forth  Imperial  Valley  from  the  deso- 
lation of  the  Colorado  Desert.  There  is  no  alchemy  and  no  mysticism  in 
the  methods  whereby  the  desert  is  reclaimed.  Everywhere  in  modern 
husbandry  the  scientist  is  analyzing  the  soil  and  determining  the  ele- 
ment that  is  lacking  for  highest  productivity,  and  he  has  discovered  that 
in  arid  lands  the  one  missing  element  is  moisture.  That  supplied,  the 
plant  food  that  has  been  accumulating  through  the  ages  brings  forth 
crops  to  astonish  those  unacquainted  with  the  desert. 

Early  in  the  40's  General  Kearny's  expedition  crossed  Southern  Ari- 
zona, noted  the  great  success  of  the  Pima  Indians  in  the  Salt  River 
valley  growing  cotton  and  other  cultures,  thence  came  on  through  what 
was  to  become  the  famous  Imperial  Valley. 

A  decade  later  they  were  followed  by  soldiers  of  the  United  States, 
and  so  early  as  that  time  the  possibility  of  reclaiming  the  desert  by 


IRRIGATION 


155 


bringing  water  from  the  Colorado  River  was  reported  on  by  army 
officers. 

A  little  later  Dr.  Wozencraft  of  San  Bernardino  became  interested 
in  bringing  this  about,  and  did  his  utmost  to  get  Congress  to  make  an 
appropriation  to  this  end,  but  when  it  seemed  that  he  might  succeed, 
the  Civil  War  came  on,  and  for  years  nothing  could  be  done  in  regard 
to  reclamation  works.  After  the  war  he  again  tried  to  secure  govern- 
ment aid  for  the  work,  but  was  unsuccessful. 

During  the  70's  individuals  became  interested  in  a  project  to  bring 
about  the  work  as  a  private  enterprise,  but  nothing  came  of  those  ef- 
forts, covering  a  series  of  years. 

The  California  Development  Company  finally  was  formed,  composed 
of  C.  R.  Rockwood,  A.  H.  Heber,  Dr.  W.  T.  Heffernan  and  others. 
These  were  men  of  moderate  means,  but  all  they  possessed  was  put 
into  the  work  of  making  surveys  and  hunting  for  bigger  capital  to  carry 
on  the  work.  A  number  of  years  went  by  without  accomplishment  until 
the  spring  of  1900,  when  George  Chaffey,  as  general  manager,  began 
the  great  work  of  building  which  was  to  be  conducted  during  the  four- 
teen months  in  which  he  headed  the  enterprise. 

Mr.  Chaffey  was  a  Canadian  civil  and  mechanical  engineer,  and  more 
than  twenty  years  before  he  had  been  connected  with  the  development 
work  at  Riverside,  and  thence  had  gone  to  found  the  colonies  of  On- 
tario and  Etiwanda,  Southern  California.  Following  his  success  in 
Southern  California  he  had  gone  to  Australia  to  take  charge  of  great 
government  irrigation  works,  and  these  works  being  completed,  he  had 
just  returned  to  this  country  when  he  became  interested  in  the  Imperial 
enterprise,  of  which  he  was  made  the  head.  He  began  his  task  with  ad- 
verse financial  conditions.  Not  only  had  all  the  stock  of  the  company 
passed  to  private  hands,  but  the  company  had  considerable  floating  ob- 
ligations and  had  sold  water  rights  for  35,000  acres  of  land.  Its  only  as- 
sets consisted  of  a  camp  equipment  and  an  interest  in  a  surveying  out- 
fit. As  he  built  canals  the  holders  of  water  rights  located  them  along  the 
canals,  thus  making  it  difficult  to  finance  additional  works. 

Adding  to  the  difficulties,  the  United  States  Agricultural  Department 
bureau  of  soils  sent  here  a  young  and  inexperienced  man  to  report  on 
the  soils  of  the  Valley,  and  the  report  he  made  was  so  unjustly  adverse 
that  banks  which  had  co-operated  to  a  degree  withdrew  their  support. 


156  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

In  spite  of  these  obstacles,  in  fourteen  months  Mr.  Chaffey  dug  700 
miles  of  canal,  and  colonists  having  come  to  the  Valley  in  large  num- 
bers, mainly  from  irrigated  sections  of  California  and  Arizona,  the  sec- 
tion was  given  an  impetus  that  nothing  could  stop. 

Building  in  this  way  it  was  inevitable  that  the  works  should  be  con- 
structed with  a  view  to  cheapness  rather  than  endurance,  and  the  col- 
onists have  paid  a  heavy  penalty  for  this,  though  greater  stability  is 
being  wrought  out  by  the  people  for  themselves  in  these  later  days,  and 
the  irrigation  works  will  in  time  take  rank  with  the  best  the  world 
knows. 

The  supreme  evil  that  came  upon  the  Valley  as  a  result  of  the  cheap 
construction  came  through  conducting  the  irrigation  canal  through 
Mexico. 

Abutting  on  the  international  line  as  it  does,  a  chain  of  sand  hills  lies 
between  Imperial  Valley  and  the  Colorado  River  and  extends  a  short 
distance  below  the  line  into  Mexico.  From  an  engineering  point  of  view 
it  was  the  logical  thing  to  do  to  conduct  the  canal  around  the  chain  of 
hills.  But  insomuch  as  that  vested  the  control  of  the  canal  in  a  foreign 
country,  it  was  a  most  serious  obstacle  to  the  development  of  the  full 
resources  of  the  American  lands,  it  being  necessary  to  make  great  con- 
cessions to  Mexico. 

It  would  be  much  better  if  the  writing  of  this  historical  sketch  could 
be  delayed  a  few  months,  for  then,  in  all  probability,  the  triumph  of  the 
colonists  over  this  obstacle  could  be  recounted.  As  these  words  are  writ- 
ten there  is  a  delegation  in  Washington  conferring  with  the  representa- 
tives of  the  Interior  Department,  and  there  is  assurance  that  arrange- 
ments will  be  perfected  whereby  a  canal  wholly  within  the  United 
States  will  be  constructed  and  the  irrigation  of  the  half  million  acres 
now  in  Imperial  irrigation  district,  and  nearly  as  much  additional  land 
outside  the  present  boundaries  of  the  district,  will  be  divorced  from  the 
six  hundred  thousand  irrigable  acres  in  Mexico. 

In  late  years  a  new  line  of  organization  has  been  followed,  which  has 
placed  the  irrigation  system  in  the  hands  of  the  residents  of  the  Valley. 
The  financial  difficulties  of  the  California  Development  Company  and 
its  closely  affiliated  Mexican  company  (the  stock  of  the  latter  owned 
by  the  former  and  maintained  as  a  method  of  control  of  the  canal  in 
Mexico)  eventually  led  to  a  receivership,  and  the  Southern  Pacific  Rail- 


IRRIGATION 


157 


road  Company  having  advanced  the  company  a  sum  of  money,  the  rail- 
road company  became  the  controlling  factor.  The  people  of  the  Valley 
in  191 1  organized  an  irrigation  district  under  the  laws  of  California, 
and  for  three  millions  of  dollars  purchased  the  irrigation  system,  as- 
suming the  obligation  of  the  original  company  in  its  contract  with  the 
Republic  of  Mexico  to  give  to  the  Mexican  lands  one  half  of  all  water 
brought  through  that  country,  providing  those  lands  require  that  quan- 
tity of  water.  The  district  also  maintains  a  Mexican  corporation,  the 
function  of  which  is  the  same  as  that  of  its  predecessor. 

In  the  original  organization  the  Development  Company  was  a  parent 
company,  having  contracts  with  a  series  of  mutual  water  companies  for 
the  delivery  of  water  at  50  cents  an  acre  foot,  the  farmers  holding  stock 
in  these  companies  on  the  basis  of  one  share  (usually)  to  the  acre.  Each 
of  these  mutual  companies  serves  the  water  used  in  a  well  defined  sec- 
tion of  the  Valley. 

In  forming  the  district  this  organization  was  continued,  the  district 
serving  the  mutual  companies  and  not  the  individual  farmers  and  con- 
tinuing the  former  charge.  The  mutual  companies  levy  assessments 
from  time  to  time  to  cover  the  maintenance  of  their  distributing  canals 
and  their  office  expenses,  and  charge  the  farmers  at  the  rate  of  50  cents 
a  second  foot  for  actual  water  deliveries.  The  irrigation  district  has  as 
its  revenue  the  water  rentals  from  the  mutual  companies  and  levies 
taxes  to  make  up  the  deficit,  these  taxes  applying  on  all  real  estate  in 
cities  and  country,  exclusive  of  improvements. 

In  many  respects  there  is  in  this  irrigation  project  a  suggestion  of  that 
on  the  lower  Nile.  The  Colorado  River  draws  its  great  volume  of  wa- 
ter from  a  drainage  area  that  reaches  almost  to  the  Canadian  line  and 
which  includes  the  whole  western  slope  of  the  Rocky  Mountains.  Scant 
summer  rain  in  arid  America  and  the  melting  snows  of  the  mountains 
give  to  the  river  great  variability  in  volume  of  discharge,  which  rises 
and  falls  with  almost  clock-work  regularity.  The  maximum  discharge 
comes  about  June  20  each  year,  and  the  annual  outpour  of  the  river  is 
about  sixteen  million  acre  feet. 

With  present  development  there  is  a  good  margin  of  safety  above  the 
minimum  flow,  but  at  the  rate  development  is  proceeding  along  the 
river,  it  is  evident  to  all  that  something  in  the  form  of  storage  must  be 
devised  in  years  not  far  distant. 


I58  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

Taken  as  a  whole,  the  farmers  use  an  average  of  a  trifle  over  three 
acre  feet  per  acre  a  year,  the  maximum  demand  being  in  June,  July  and 
August,  but  time  undoubtedly  will  bring  about  considerable  change  in 
this  respect.  The  use  of  water  runs  so  extensively  to  summer  maximum 
now  because  of  the  great  acreage  of  cotton  grown,  but  the  tendency  al- 
ready manifest  toward  fall  and  spring  garden  crops  leads  to  the  belief 
that  cotton  in  the  years  to  come  will  occupy  a  smaller  percentage  of  the 
total  area,  and  the  more  intensive  culture  of  fall,  winter  and  spring 
crops,  and  the  more  extensive  planting  of  fruits,  particularly  grapes 
and  dates,  will  lead  to  a  more  equitable  distribution  of  water  service 
throughout  the  year. 


III 


CHAPTER  V 
EDUCATIONAL 

BY  A.  P.  SHIBLEY 

On  September  8,  1901,  Mr.  J.  E.  Carr  opened  the  first  school  in  Im- 
perial Valley  under  a  ramada,  roofed  with  arrow-weeds  and  that  roof 
supported  by  eight  poles,  not  far  from  the  present  city  of  Calexico.  He 
enrolled  fifty  boys  and  girls,  many  of  whom  came  trudging  across  the 
desert  for  four  and  five  miles. 

In  the  fall  of  1903  John  W.  Shenk,  now  a  judge  of  the  Superior 
Court  of  Los  Angeles,  opened  another  school  in  the  newly  organized 
Calexico  School  District.  His  school  house  was  a  tent  about  fourteen 
feet  by  twenty  feet.  It  had  a  board  floor,  canvas  top,  sides  and  ends. 
The  sides  and  ends  were  drawn  outward  and  upward  and  attached  to 
mesquite  poles  during  school  hours,  except  during  windy  weather.  This 
school  was  located  just  south  of  the  canal  levee  and  west  of  the  main 
traveled  road  at  the  bridge  across  the  main  canal  just  north  of  Calex- 
ico. This  school  opened  with  nearly  fifteen  pupils  and  increased  to 
twenty  before  the  close  of  the  session  in  the  following  May.  Judge 
Shenk  says:  "The  pupils  came  on  burros,  on  horseback  and  on  foot 
from  habitations  not  as  a  rule  visible  from  the  school  house.  Two  or 
three  ranch  tents  in  the  distance  and  the  California  Development  Com- 
pany's building  and  water  tank  at  the  international  boundary  line  were 
the  only  signs  of  civilization  apparent  to  the  eye.  The  pupils  were  ear- 
nest and  eager,  with  but  an  occasional  infraction  of  the  arbitrary  rules 
prescribed  by  the  schoolmaster.  Corporal  punishment  was  seldom  re- 
sorted to  and  when  used  it  was,  of  course,  with  the  full  approval  of 
the  parents — obtained  after  the  incident  was  closed." 

During  the  same  year  Mr.  L.  E.  Cooley  was  the  teacher  of  the  school 
in  the  Van  Horn  community,  somewhat  west  of  the  present  town  of 
Heber.  This  school  of  Mr.  Cooley's  was  frequently  spoken  of  as  a  "rag 
knowledge  box" — a  name  fully  indicative  of  the  kind  of  structure  in 
which  the  school  was  taught. 


l6o  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

These  three  schools  were  all  that  Imperial  Valley  afforded  up  to  the 
close  of  the  school  year  1902-1903.  But  from  this  time  on  the  popula- 
tion increased  rapidly  and  just  as  rapidly  were  the  facilities  for  the 
education  of  the  pioneer  children  provided. 

During  the  summer  of  1907  the  County  of  Imperial  was  formed  from 
the  eastern  part  of  San  Diego  County.  The  first  teacher  of  the  Imperial 
Valley  became  the  first  county  superintendent  of  schools. 

Under  his  supervision  the  following  school  districts  opened  and 
maintained  schools  during  the  school  year  of  1907- 1908:  Adair,  Alamo. 
Brawley,  Calexico,  Central,  Colorado,  Eastside,  El  Centro,  Elder,  Eu- 
calyptus, Heber,  Holtville,  Imperial,  Jasper,  Picacho,  Silsbee  and  Sun- 
set Springs.  The  Spruce  School  District  had  been  previously  formed, 
but  maintained  no  school  that  year  and  the  Old  Beach  School  District 
was  suspended  and  somewhat  later  ceased  to  exist.  The  Imperial  Val- 
ley Union  High  School  at  Imperial  was  the  only  high  school  in  the 
county  during  this  first  year  of  the  county's  existence. 

The  elementary  schools  enrolled  one  thousand  sixty-seven  boys  and 
girls  and  employed  thirty-eight  teachers.  The  high  school  enrolled  for- 
ty-eight pupils,  who  were  taught  by  three  teachers. 

The  elementary  schools  were  maintained  at  an  expense  of  $22,201.06 
for  maintenance  and  an  expense  of  $9,129.96  for  sites,  buildings  and 
furniture,  and  the  high  school  at  an  expense  of  $4,782.93  with  but  $200 
spent  for  building  purposes. 

The  total  amount  of  elementary  school  property  was  estimated  to  be 
worth  $51,965  and  the  high  school  property  was  valued  at  $7,555,  mak- 
ing a  total  valuation  of  all  school  property  of  $59,520. 

During  the  administration  of  Superintendent  J.  E.  Carr  the  schools 
showed  a  remarkable  growth  in  every  respect,  including  the  number  of 
schools,  enrollments,  valuations  of  school  property,  number  of  teach- 
ers employed  and  efficiency  of  education  generally. 

In  January  of  191 1,  Superintendent  Carr  was  succeeded  by  Superin- 
tendent Lewis  E.  Cooley,  another  of  the  triumvirate  of  pioneer  Impe- 
rial Valley  teachers.  At  the  time  Superintendent  Cooley  began  his  work 
in  the  county  office  Imperial  Valley  had  come  to  "blossom  as  the  rose,"' 
agriculturally  and  educationally.  Thirty- four  elementary  school  dis- 
tricts were  employing  sixty-three  teachers  and  had  an  enrollment  of 
seventeen  hundred  ninety  pupils.  There  were  five  union  high  schools, 


EDUCATIONAL  161 

employing  twenty-six  teachers,  and  with  an  enrollment  of  two  hundred 
thirty-eight  pupils.  The  educational  foundation  had  been  laid  and  the 
superstructure  started.  But  big  and  worth  while  work  was  yet  to  be 
done.  For  four  years  Superintendent  Cooley  gave  of  himself  liberally 
and  well  in  the  handling  of  the  mighty  tasks  that  fell  to  his  lot.  He  was 
then  succeeded  by  the  writer  in  January,  191 5. 

Figures  are  not  yet  available  for  the  year  1917-1918,  but  the  annual 
report  of  the  year  1916-1917  shows  a  remarkable  growth  when  com- 
pared with  those  of  the  first  year  of  the  county's  history. 

Imperial  County  now  has  fifty  elementary  school  districts  and  last 
year  employed  one  hundred  sixty-seven  teachers,  with  an  enrollment  of 
four  thousand  one  pupils.  She  spent  $167,848  for  maintenance  of  them 
and  $58,372  for  buildings,  sites  and  equipment. 

She  has  five  union  high  schools  and  last  year  employed  fifty-eight 
teachers,  with  eight  hundred  thirty-six  young  men  and  women  enrolled. 
She  had  one  evening  high  school  that  enrolled  five  hundred  men  and 
women  for  study  in  branches  mainly  applicable  to  their  own  needs  in 
daily  life.  She  expended  for  maintenance  $118,709  and  $112,588  for 
extensions  of  union  high  school  plants. 

The  elementary  schools  owned  school  plants  valued  at  $593,004  and 
the  union  high  school  plants  valued  at  $611,321. 

Most  of  these  schools  are  located  on  tracts  of  land  varying  in  size 
from  three  to  eight  acres  in  area.  Careful  attention  has  been  given  to 
the  construction  of  the  buildings  and  equipment  to  make  them  modern 
and  well  adapted  to  the  educational  needs  of  those  whom  they  are  de- 
signed to  serve.  Most  of  these  schools  have  either  an  auditorium  or 
two  or  more  rooms  with  accordion  doors  between,  making  these  rooms 
convertible  into  an  auditorium.  Practically  all  of  them  are  adorned 
with  trees,  vines  and  shrubs.  In  some  cases  groves  have  been  set  out 
with  the  idea  of  making  picnic  grounds,  as  well  as  to  serve  the  usual 
needs  of  the  schools. 

On  the  whole  the  school  districts  are  large.  It  is  the  hope  that  these 
districts  may  be  kept  large,  thus  obviating  the  necessity  for  the  much- 
heralded  consolidations  of  schools  that  such  great  lengths  have  been 
gone  to  obtain  in  the  eastern  and  middle  western  states.  It  is  not  un- 
usual to  see  ten  to  fifteen  horses — and  often  several  burros — hitched 
about  one  of  our  schools,  oftentimes  in  sheds  that  have  been  erected 


162  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

for  their  protection.  The  writer  has  seen  as  many  as  twenty-seven 
horses  and  burros  about  one  school ;  all  of  them  had  carried  or  drawn 
precious  burdens  to  a  rural  temple  of  learning.  In  a  few  of  the  elemen- 
tary school  districts  transportation  is  provided  at  public  expense. 
Doubtless  the  next  few  years  will  see  a  considerable  expansion  of  the 
transportation  facilities  of  school  children. 

Transportation  of  high  school  pupils  is  now  carried  on  by  each  of 
the  five  union  high  school  districts;  all  of  them  own  automobiles  of 
their  own;  most  of  them  pay  certain  individuals  for  transportation  of 
themselves  and  some  of  the  pupils  from  neighboring  families,  and  some 
pupils  are  transported  by  contract.  In  a  few  instances  pupils  are  trans- 
ported from  homes  fifteen  miles  distant  from  the  high  school.  Thus  are 
the  homes  kept  intact,  the  pupils  enabled  to  retain  the  benefits  and 
pleasures  of  home  life  and  home  environments. 

Imperial  County  is  seeking  the  best  in  courses  of  study  for  both 
the  elementary  and  high  schools.  Essentials  are  striven  for  and  non- 
essentials eliminated  as  far  as  possible.  Our  schools  attempt  to  securely 
fasten  the  worth  while  parts  of  the  formal  subjects.  In  addition,  we 
are  stressing  the  teaching  of  agriculture,  nature  study  and  school  and 
home  gardening,  and  a  strong  beginning  has  been  made  in  Agricultural 
Club  work. 

Nor  are  our  schools  neglecting  the  newer  subjects  demanded  of  the 
schools.  All  of  our  high  schools  and  many  of  the  elementary  schools 
have  well  taught  courses  in  drawing,  art,  manual  training,  home  eco- 
nomics, music — including,  in  some  cases,  both  vocal  and  instrumental 
— and  from  time  to  time  other  desirable  and  needed  courses  are  given. 

An  article  prepared  by  Principal  W.  T.  Randall  of  the  Central  Union 
High  School  will  give  an  idea  of  the  real  breadth  of  our  high  school 
courses  and  the  courses  in  the  other  four  union  high  schools  are  similar. 

"The  school  provides  instruction  in  the  following  lines :  English,  four 
years,  with  an  extra  year  in  commercial  English  and  another  in  jour- 
nalism ;  history,  four  years,  with  a  year  in  civics  and  economics  and 
debate ;  the  foreign  languages  are  Latin  and  Spanish ;  in  mathematics, 
a  year's  work  in  practical  business  arithmetic  and  four  years  in  the 
higher  and  advanced  subjects;  music  includes  chorus,  glee  club,  orches- 
tra, piano,  sight  singing,  harmony,  and  history ;  the  sciences,  involving 
full  laboratory  practice  and  interwoven  with  the  practical  affairs  of 


EDUCATIONAL  163 

life,  are  agriculture  (together  with  a  competition  club),  botany,  chem- 
istry and  a  year  of  qualitative  analysis,  physics,  physiology,  hygiene  and 
zoology.  The  vocational  subjects  meet  the  needs  of  two  classes  of  stu- 
dents :  those  who  elect  these  subjects  in  an  academic  course,  and  those 
who  are  studying  them  for  immediate  use  in  business.  The  commercial 
subjects  are  bookkeeping  and  stenography,  with  their  arithmetic,  Eng- 
lish, law,  geography,  history,  penmanship  and  typewriting.  Drawing  is 
both  free-hand  and  mechanical.  Household  arts  at  present  are  confined 
to  cooking  and  sewing.  Shop  work  as  yet  extends  only  to  some  of  the 
simplest  forms  of  carpentry,  cabinet  work,  a  little  forge  work  and  au- 
tomobile repairing.  Some  excellent  practice  in  the  use  of  a  library  is 
given  by  the  efficient  teacher  of  that  subject,  who  has  at  her  service 
the  collections  also  of  the  city  and  of  the  county.  An  exceedingly  home- 
like cafeteria  is  provided." 

Each  of  the  five  large  towns  of  the  Imperial  Valley  are  maintaining 
well  equipped  and  well  taught  kindergartens. 

Thus  it  will  be  seen  that  Imperial  County  is  caring  for  its  children 
in  an  educational  way  from  the  kindergartens  through  the  four  years 
of  high  school  and  beginnings  have  been  made  in  junior  college  work. 
We  expect  in  a  short  time  to  put  the  ambitious  boys  and  girls  within 
two  years  of  obtaining  a  bachelor's  degree  without  the  breaking  of 
home  ties  and  the  large  expense  of  four  years  at  college. 

FORT  YUMA   INDIAN   SCHOOL 
BY  L.  L.  ODLE 

Fort  Yuma  Indian  School  and  Agency  is  located  on  a  prominence  in 
Imperial  County,  California,  just  across  the  Colorado  River  from  Yu- 
ma, Arizona.  In  the  early  days  it  was  used  by  the  soldiers  as  a  fort 
which  was  abandoned  between  1878  and  1880,  at  which  time  it  was 
taken  possession  of  by  the  Catholic  Sisters  and  a  school  established 
for  the  Yuma  Indians.  In  the  year  1895  the  United  States  Government 
took  possession  and  it  was  made  a  boarding  school. 

At  this  time  the  Indians  were  very  superstitious  and  it  was  difficult 
for  them  to  see  the  advantage  of  the  school  training.  There  was  some 
trouble  in  getting  the  children  in  school,  but  they  are  beginning  to 
open  their  eyes  and  the  majority  of  the  parents  are  anxious  and  willing 
for  their  children  to  be  in  school. 


^4  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

The  pupils  are  brought  in  at  the  age  of  five  years  and  are  kept  at 
the  school  until  they  complete  the  primary  work.  They  are  also  trained 
along  the  industrial  as  well  as  the  academic  lines.  The  girls  are  given 
special  training  in  housekeeping,  laundering,  cooking,  etc.,  while  the 
boys  are  given  dairying,  gardening,  carpentry,  etc. 

After  completing  the  primary  work  they  are  transferred  to  non- 
reservation  schools,  namely,  Sherman  Institute,  Riverside,  California, 
and  Phoenix  Industrial  School,  Phoenix,  Arizona,  these  being  the  near- 
est industrial  schools,  and  are  given  further  industrial  training  where 
better  results  are  obtained  through  association  with  pupils  of  other 
tribes.  The  Yumas  are  clannish,  cling  to  their  own  language,  and  prog- 
ress is  slow  when  they  remain  in  the  boarding  school  after  completing 
the  primary  work. 

Much  improvement  has  been  made  to  the  buildings  the  last  two  years 
and  the  construction  of  new  screen  porches  has  added  sufficient  room 
for  pupils  to  sleep  in  the  open  air  throughout  the  year. 

The  school  farm  containing  160  acres  is  located  about  one  mile  north 
of  the  school  and  is  under  cultivation.  The  income  has  been  very  no- 
ticeable the  last  six  months  and  the  garden  has  kept  the  school  tables 
well  supplied  with  fresh  vegetables,  pumpkins,  etc.  A  great  success  has 
been  made  on  the  farm.  The  pupils  are  very  fond  of  it  and  it  is  in  great 
demand  in  the  surrounding  community.  It  is  predicted  that  this  school 
will  produce  the  molasses  used  in  most  of  the  schools  in  the  service 
after  another  year. 

The  Yuma  Indian  Reservation  lies  to  the  north  and  west  of  the 
school.  This  contains  8000  acres  of  irrigable  land  under  the  Yuma 
Project.  The  soil  is  the  best,  with  an  abundance  of  water  for  irrigation 
and  domestic  purposes. 

Five  years  ago  the  Reservation  was  a  wild  wilderness  of  desolation. 
The  Yuma  Indians  were  considered  the  poorest  in  California.  The 
government  had  done  little  for  them.  The  tribe,  now  numbering  833, 
of  whom  779  are  full  bloods,  lived  by  raising  pumpkins,  watermelons, 
wheat  and  corn  on  the  overflow  lands  of  the  Colorado  River.  Sanitary 
conditions  were  very  bad  and  the  death  rate  far  exceeded  the  birth  rate. 

In  January,  1916,  the  entire  Reservation  was  flooded,  the  Indians 
losing  everything. 


EDUCATIONAL  165 

By  Act  of  Congress  March  3,  191 1,  8,000  acres  were  allotted,  a  share 
of  10  acres  to  each  Indian,  and  to  place  these  lands  in  cultivation  about 
$100  per  acre  must  be  expended  in  labor.  After  the  lands  are  grubbed, 
cleared  and  leveled  for  irrigation  their  equal  cannot  be  found  in  this 
country,  if  in  the  world.  As  an  illustration:  alfalfa  is  cut  from  seven 
to  ten  times,  yielding  from  three-quarters  to  three  tons  per  acre  at  each 
cutting.  Alfalfa  seed  is  a  very  valuable  crop,  yielding  from  four  to 
eight  hundred  pounds  of  seed  to  the  acre  which  sells  from  18  to  35 
cents  per  pound.  Two  crops  of  seed  can  be  made  with  two  cuttings  of 
alfalfa,  the  second  crop  of  seed  yielding  from  one  to  three  hundred 
pounds  per  acre.  Four  cuttings  of  hay  can  be  made  with  one  crop  of 
seed.  Cotton  raising  has  also  been  very  successful,  yielding  an  average 
of  three-fourths  to  one  bale  per  acre  for  long  staple  and  one  and  one- 
half  to  two  and  one-half  for  short  staple.  Milo  maze  averages  two  tons 
per  acre.  Under  the  climatic  conditions  anything  can  be  grown  except 
products  that  require  a  damp  or  the  extreme  cold  climate. 

The  Yuma  Indian  is  considered  the  best  laborer  among  the  Indians 
and  he  is  on  the  road  to  prosperity,  which  is  best  shown  in  the  follow- 
ing statistics: 

Lands  irrigable   8,000  acres 

Land  cultivated  by  Indians,  March  1,  1918 1,600  acres 

Land  value $200  per  acre 

Crop  values  for  1917 $62,075.00 

Earnings,  employed  by  others $31,555.00 

About  two-thirds  of  the  reservation  is  leased  to  whites  under  the 
improvement  plan  and  about  4,400  acres  of  this  is  in  cultivation. 

Every  effort  is  being  put  forth  to  get  this  land  cleared  and  in  crops 
and  at  the  close  of  1918  all  lands  will  be  in  cultivation  with  the  produc- 
tion more  than  doubled. 

It  will  be  one  of  the  richest  and  most  productive  reservations  for  its 
size  in  the  United  States  and  a  credit  to  the  Service. 

Health  conditions  have  greatly  improved  in  the  last  four  or  five 
years  with  much  credit  due  the  Physician,  Nurse,  and  Field  Matron. 
The  following  record  will  be  interesting  in  this  connection : 


!66  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


HEALTH  RECORD 


1911 

17 

53 

36 

1912 

14 

30 

16 

1913 

22 

28 

6 

Increase 

1914 

26 

25 

I 

1915 

28 

14 

14 

1916 

39 

13 

26 

1917 

38 

18 

20 

Owing  to  climatic  conditions  and  the  location  of  the  Fort  Yuma 
School  and  Reservation  it  would  be  an  ideal  place  for  a  sanatorium.  It 
is  predicted  that  in  the  near  future  the  boarding  school  will  be  aban- 
doned, day  schools  established  on  the  reservation,  and  a  government 
sanatorium  established  where  afflicted  Indians  from  all  parts  of  the 
United  States  can  be  accommodated  and  nursed  back  to  health. 


CHAPTER  VI 
RELIGIOUS 

THE  M.  E.  CHURCH  OF  IMPERIAL 

In  September  of  the  year  1901,  Rev.  J.  S.  Kline  was  appointed  to  Im- 
perial as  a  supply.  This  is  the  first  time  that  Imperial  appears  in  the 
minutes.  He  did  some  preaching  at  Blue  Lake  and  Calexico  during  the 
year.  The  following  year  no  one  was  appointed  to  the  charge,  though 
the  Rev.  Kline  continued  to  preach  occasionally.  In  March,  1903,  Rev. 
H.  C.  Mullen  of  the  St.  Louis  Conference  was  transferred  to  the  South- 
ern California  Conference,  and  was  appointed  to  the  Imperial  work 
by  Bishop  John  W.  Hamilton.  Rev.  Mullen  arrived  on  the  field  the  16th 
day  of  April,  and  preached  his  first  sermon  in  the  Valley  the  following 
Sunday,  April  19th,  at  Blue  Lake  schoolhouse  to  an  audience  of  about 
twenty-five. 

The  first  service  held  in  Imperial  occurred  on  the  evening  of  the  fol- 
lowing Sunday,  the  26th,  in  the  hall  over  the  Imperial  Land  Company's 
office,  when  an  audience  of  about  thirty  were  present. 

The  class  at  Imperial  was  organized  during  the  latter  part  of  June, 
1903,  with  21  members.  At  Blue  Lake  an  organization  was  effected  dur- 
ing the  month  of  July,  1903,  with  a  membership  of  13. 

On  Sunday  morning,  May  10,  H.  C.  Mullen  preached  on  the  east- 
side  at  the  home  of  Mr.  J.  S.  Bridenstine  to  a  congregation  of  about  20. 
He  was  the  first  person  to  preach  in  that  section,  having  held  services 
there  some  seven  months  before  any  other  preacher  had  entered  the 
field.  The  class  on  the  eastside  was  organized  on  December  13,  1903, 
and  completed  on  January  10,  1904.  The  number  of  charter  members 
was  14. 

In  July,  1903,  the  fifth  Sunday,  H.  C.  Mullen  preached  to  an  audi- 
ence of  30  in  Brawley,  the  services  being  held  in  an  adobe  building  used 
at  that  time  as  a  rooming  house.  He  continued  preaching  services  at 
this  place  as  opportunity  offered  until  January,  1904,  when  Rev.  Thos. 
Stamp  of  Oregon  came  to  take  charge  of  the  work.  He  remained  but 


168  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

six  weeks,  the  critical  condition  of  Mrs.  Stamp's  health  brought  him 
here,  and  she  survived  only  a  short  time  after  their  arrival.  H.  C.  Mul- 
len continued  to  care  for  the  Brawley  work  after  Rev.  Stamp's  de- 
parture. A  class  of  22  charter  members  was  organized  on  Sunday,  April 
4,  1904.  The  services  were  held  in  the  Cady-Lee  Hall.  The  second 
week  in  May  following,  Rev.  Andrew  McAllen  of  the  Missouri  Confer- 
ence, who  had  been  transferred  to  the  Southern  California  Conference, 
took  charge  of  this  point. 

The  following  pastors  have  served  since  those  mentioned  in  the  pre- 
ceding lines:  Stephen  Stanton  Myrick,  October,  1905,  to  October,  1906; 
Charles  Wentworth,  October,  1906,  to  October,  1907;  Mott  Mitchell, 
October,  1907,  to  October,  1909;  Frank  Lucas,  October,  1909,  to  Octo- 
ber, 1910;  R.  I.  McKee,  October,  1910,  to  October,  1912;  O.  M.  An- 
drews, October,  1912,  to  October,  1913;  Robert  E.  Wright,  October, 
1913,  to  October,  1916;  Quintin  P.  Royer,  October,  1916,  to  — 

THE  FIRST  METHODIST  EPISCOPAL  CHURCH,  CALEXICO,  CAL. 

The  seed  from  which  sprang  the  First  Methodist  Episcopal  Church 
of  Calexico,  Cal.,  was  first  planted  by  Rev.  H.  C.  Mullen,  who  in  the 
early  part  of  the  year  1903  came  from  the  city  of  Imperial,  once  a 
month,  and  preached  in  Calexico  schoolhouse,  which  was  located  at  that 
time  on  the  main  canal  north  of  the  city. 

Methodism  entered  the  city  of  Calexico  proper  when  in  the  summer 
of  1903  Rev.  McAllen  was  sent  into  the  Valley,  equipped  with  a  tent, 
to  begin  the  work  of  preaching  the  gospel  of  Jesus  Christ. 

A  lot  was  donated  by  the  Imperial  Investment  Company  on  the  cor- 
ner of  Heffernan  and  Third  streets,  and  here  Rev.  McAllen  erected  his 
tent  on  Saturday  and  prepared  to  preach  his  first  sermon  on  the  follow- 
ing day,  but  a  wind  storm  arose  and  blew  down  the  tent  that  night,  and 
so  the  first  services  were  held  on  the  Sabbath  in  the  office  of  the  Cali- 
fornia Development  Company. 

During  the  week  following  the  tent  was  re-erected  and  Methodism 
was  installed  on  the  site  which  has  been  her  home  ever  since.  A  Sunday 
school  of  about  20  members  was  at  once  organized,  with  Mr.  E.  S.  Mc- 
Cullom  as  superintendent.  This  child  of  the  church  has  since  grown  to 
be  a  strong,  sturdy  youth,  with  a  membership  of  about  300. 


RELIGIOUS  169 

The  church  was  formerly  organized  in  August  of  1903,  with  E.  S. 
McCullom  and  wife,  Mrs.  A.  N.  Rankin,  James  and  Mrs.  Bragg,  Lor- 
ena  and  Floyd  Bragg  as  the  seven  charter  members.  Thus,  after  many 
difficulties,  it  became,  by  several  months,  the  first  church  to  be  organ- 
ized in  the  city  of  Calexico. 

In  the  fall  of  1905  Rev.  O.  C.  Laizure  became  the  pastor  of  this 
sturdy  young  church.  It  was  during  his  pastorate  that  the  Epworth 
League  and  Ladies'  Aid  Society  were  organized.  It  was  also  in  the  lat- 
ter part  of  1905  when  the  task  of  building  a  permanent  church  building 
was  begun,  but,  owing  to  the  first  break  in  the  Colorado  River,  work 
on  the  building  was  suspended  for  about  nine  months.  In  the  fall  of 
1906,  Rev.  Wm.  M.  Harkness  came  to  be  the  pastor  of  the  church, 
work  was  again  begun  on  the  building  and  the  church  was  completed 
and  dedicated  about  the  first  of  June,  1907.  From  that  time  the  growth 
of  the  church  has  been  rapid  and  is  now  carrying  on  work  in  all  the 
various  departments  of  the  Methodist  Episcopal  Church. 

In  addition  to  those  named  above,  the  following  pastors  have  served 
this  church  for  from  one  to  three  years  each :  Rev.  Oliver  Saylor,  G.  E. 
Twomley,  W.  W.  Hull,  J.  N.  Gostner,  C.  A.  Norcross,  A.  E.  Schultz 
and  Albert  Ore,  the  present  pastor. 

ALL  SAINTS'  EPISCOPAL  CHURCH,  BRAWLEY 

The  first  services  of  the  Episcopal  Church  in  Brawley  were  held  in  Oc- 
tober, 1910,  by  the  Rev.  Edgar  M.  Rogers  of  Imperial,  the  pioneer 
Episcopal  clergyman  in  the  Imperial  Valley.  A  meeting  of  interested 
women,  held  at  the  home  of  Mrs.  Arthur  P.  Higgins  on  All  Saints' 
Day,  November  1,  1910,  resulted  in  the  formation  of  All  Saints'  Guild. 
And  soon  the  name  of  All  Saints'  was  decided  upon  as  that  of  the  con- 
gregation. The  Rev.  Mr.  Rogers  was  a  man  of  keen  business  sagacity, 
and  under  his  leadership  the  splendid  site  at  the  junction  of  South  Im- 
perial Avenue  and  the  Plaza  was  acquired.  Meantime  services  were 
held  at  the  Presbyterian  Church.  The  first  officers  were:  Warden,  Mr. 
Nelson  T.  Shaw,  and  treasurer,  Mrs.  Arthur  P.  Higgins. 

For  a  few  months  in  the  spring  of  191 1  the  Rev.  Mr.  Rogers  was 
assisted  by  the  Rev.  Edwin  B.  Mott.  The  former  resigned,  however,  on 
May  1,  and  was  succeeded  by  the  Rev.  Lawrence  M.  Idleman.  In  No- 
vember he  presented  the  first  class  for  confirmation  to  the  Right  Rev. 


170 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


Joseph  H.  Johnson,  D.  D.,  S.  T.  D.,  Bishop  of  Los  Angeles.  This  ser- 
vice was  held  at  the  Presbyterian  Church. 

At  the  resignation  of  the  Rev.  Mr.  Idleman  the  first  of  the  year  he 
was  followed  by  the  Rev.  Frederick  W.  Pratt.  During  his  incumbency 
the  present  structure,  a  portable  chapel,  was  erected.  The  first  services 
were  held  in  it  by  the  Rev.  Mr.  Pratt,  April  4,  1912.  He,  however,  was 
compelled  to  leave  the  Valley  because  of  ill  health,  and  late  in  the  year 
was  succeeded  by  the  Rev.  Henry  Wood.  About  this  time  an  organ  was 
purchased  and  paid  for  by  the  efforts  of  the  members  of  All  Saints' 
Guild. 

On  October  1,  1913,  the  Rev.  Herbert  V.  Harris  assumed  charge  of 
All  Saints',  holding  services  also  at  St.  Matthias',  Imperial.  With  the 
growth  of  the  work  at  Brawley  he  relinquished  the  latter  about  the  mid- 
dle of  1914.  The  following  spring  the  chapel  was  enlarged  and  a  vested 
choir  inaugurated.  The  Rev.  Mr.  Harris  resigned  in  May,  191 5,  to  go  to 
Trinity  Church,  Orange. 

For  several  months  in  the  fall  of  that  year  services  were  conducted 
by  Mr.  Carl  E.  Arfwedson  and  Mr.  J.  A.  Harris,  lay-readers.  From  De- 
cember of  that  year,  however,  till  the  next  summer  All  Saints'  was  in 
charge  of  the  Rev.  Randolph  Leigh.  Since  October  1,  1916,  the  services 
have  been  provided  by  the  Rev.  C.  Rankin  Barnes,  with  residence  at  El 
Centro. 

The  officers  of  All  Saints'  for  1918  are:  Lay-reader,  Mr.  J.  A.  Har- 
ris; warden,  Mr.  C.  A.  Terwilliger;  clerk,  Dr.  A.  N.  Morgan;  and 
treasurer,  Mr.  J.  A.  Harris.  The  present  officers  of  All  Saints'  Guild 
are:  President,  Mrs.  James  L.  Allen;  vice-president,  Mrs.  O.  B.  Dun- 
ham ;  secretary,  Mrs.  W.  F.  Beal ;  treasurer,  Mrs.  Daniel  Gaines. 

st.  Paul's  episcopal  church,  el  centro 

After  Imperial,  El  Centro  was  the  second  town  in  the  Imperial  Valley 
to  have  regular  services  of  the  Episcopal  Church.  The  early  records 
have,  however,  been  lost,  presumably  in  the  fire  described  below.  The 
first  services  were  held  by  the  Rev.  Edgar  M.  Rogers,  the  pioneer  Epis- 
copal clergyman  in  the  Valley,  who  made  his  headquarters  at  Imperial. 
Tradition  has  it  that  the  first  service  was  held  in  the  Oregon  Hotel. 

Under  the  initiative  of  the  Rev.  Mr.  Rogers,  a  meeting  was  held  at 
the  home  of  Mrs.  W.  E.  Morton,  February  23,  1910,  which  resulted  in 


RELIGIOUS  171 

the  organization  of  St.  Paul's  Guild.  The  first  officers  were :  President, 
Mrs.  A.  W.  Swanson ;  vice-president,  Mrs.  Norma  Richardson ;  secre- 
tary, Mrs.  M.  Emma  Pearson;  treasurer,  Mrs.  W.  E.  Morton.  And 
from  that  time  to  the  present  St.  Paul's  Guild  has  continued  a  great 
power  in  the  life  of  the  congregation.  It  was  largely  by  their  efforts 
that  the  original  church  lots  were  purchased. 

The  Rev.  Mr.  Rogers  resigned  May  1,  191 1,  being  immediately  suc- 
ceeded by  the  Rev.  Lawrence  M.  Idleman,  who  remained  till  Christmas 
of  that  year.  During  the  early  part  of  1912  St.  Paul's  was  under  the 
direction  of  the  Rev.  Frederick  W.  Pratt.  It  was  at  this  time  that  a 
portable  chapel  was  erected  at  the  southwest  corner  of  Fifth  and 
Orange.  On  the  resignation  of  the  Rev.  Mr.  Pratt,  he  was  succeeded 
by  the  Rev.  William  Cochran,  who  remained  in  charge  for  about  a  year 
and  a  half. 

On  December  1,  1914,  he  was  succeeded  by  the  Rev.  Timon  E. 
Owens,  who  lived  at  Imperial  and  was  in  charge  of  the  two  congrega- 
tions till  June  1  of  the  following  year.  During  the  season  1915-16  the 
clergyman  in  charge  was  the  Rev.  Randolph  Leigh,  but  as  his  residence 
was  at  Brawley,  most  of  the  services  were  conducted  by  Mr.  Charles 
E.  Addis,  lay-reader.  All  Saints'  Altar  Guild  was  organized  about  this 
time. 

Like  that  of  San  Francisco,  the  history  of  St.  Paul's  Church  has  two 
chapters,  before  and  after  the  fire.  For  on  the  night  of  August  8,  1916, 
the  little  portable  chapel  burned  to  the  ground.  At  first  the  congrega- 
tion were  heartily  discouraged,  but  decided  that  the  crisis  only  served  as 
an  incentive  to  rebuilding  in  a  more  permanent  way. 

The  bishop  named  the  Rev.  C.  Rankin  Barnes  as  priest-in-charge 
from  October  1.  For  four  months  from  that  date  services  were  held  at 
Mulligan's  Funeral  Chapel  while  plans  were  being  drawn  for  the  new 
church.  The  architect  was  Mr.  Samuel  B.  Zimmer.  Ground  was  broken 
December  1,  and  the  new  edifice  at  Fifth  and  Orange  rushed  to  com- 
pletion. An  attractive  building,  on  simple  lines,  it  represents  an  expen- 
diture of  $4000.  The  new  St.  Paul's,  as  it  is  called,  was  dedicated  by 
the  priest-in-charge  February  11,  1917.  It  has  a  long  hall  paralleling 
one  side,  which  is  used  for  the  Sunday  School,  guild  meetings  and  so- 
cial gatherings. 

The  officers  of  St.  Paul's  for  1918  are :  Lay-reader,  Mr.  Carl  E.  Arf- 


172 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


wedson ;  warden,  Mr.  Samuel  B.  Zimmer;  clerk,  Mr.  R.  M.  Linekin; 
treasurer,  Mr.  J.  G.  Cadman.  The  officers  of  St.  Paul's  Guild  are :  Pres- 
ident, Mrs.  M.  W.  Conkling;  vice-president,  Mrs.  George  H.  Hayward; 
secretary-treasurer,  Mrs.  Alfred  C.  Aitken. 

st.  mark's  episcopal  church,  holtville 

There  is  a  small  group  of  Episcopalians  in  Holtville  organized  as  St. 
Mark's  Mission.  Organization  was  first  effected  in  1910,  under  the  di- 
rection of  the  Rev.  Edgar  M.  Rogers,  an  able  pioneer.  Lots  were  pur- 
chased, one  of  them  being  occupied  by  what  is  now  called  "the  old 
schoolhouse."  One  room  of  this  was  converted  into  a  chapel. 

The  congregation  has  been  cared  for  by  different  clergy  living  at  El 
Centro  or  Imperial.  After  the  departure  of  the  Rev.  Mr.  Rogers  these 
were  the  Rev.  Messrs.  Lawrence  M.  Idleman,  Frederick  W.  Pratt,  and 
William  Cochran.  During  the  administration  of  the  last  a  small  rectory 
was  erected.  During  the  period  1914-16  the  church  was  without  ser- 
vices, due  to  a  shortage  of  clergy. 

Since  October  1  occasional  services  have  been  provided  by  the  Rev. 
C.  Rankin  Barnes  of  El  Centro. 

ST.  MATTHIAS'  EPISCOPAL  CHURCH,  IMPERIAL 

May  18,  1908,  the  Right  Reverend  Joseph  H.  Johnson,  D.  D.,  S.  T.  D., 
Bishop  of  Los  Angeles,  visited  Imperial  to  confer  with  local  Episcopa- 
lians. He  made  a  similar  visit  about  a  year  later,  but  regular  services 
were  not  initiated  till  February  13,  1910,  on  the  arrival  of  the  Rev.  Ed- 
gar M.  Rogers,  the  pioneer  Episcopal  clergyman  of  the  Imperial  Val- 
ley. For  a  month  the  Sunday  services  were  held  in  the  Water  Company 
hall.  This  was  the  initial  work  of  the  Episcopal  Church  in  the  Valley. 
Organization  was  soon  effected,  Dr.  E.  E.  Patten  being  the  first  war- 
den and  Mr.  Charles  J.  Jenney  the  first  clerk.  For  a  year  services  of  the 
Imperial  Episcopal  Church,  as  it  was  called,  were  held  at  the  Imperial 
Business  College.  During  this  period  there  was  a  flourishing  Woman's 
Guild,  which  aided  greatly  in  the  work  of  accumulating  funds  for  a 
permanent  church  building.  As  a  result  of  a  united  effort  an  artistic 
building  of  brick  and  concrete  was  erected  at  the  cost  of  $2700.  The 
architect  was  Mr.  Samuel  B.  Zimmer,  now  of  El  Centro.  It  was  used 
for  the  first  time  February  24,  191 1.  The  date  was  St.  Matthias'  Day, 


RELIGIOUS  173 

and  the  church  has  since  then  always  borne  the  name  of  the  "Thirteenth 
Apostle." 

Soon  after  this  the  Rev.  Mr.  Rogers  resigned  to  go  to  the  state  of 
Washington.  His  successor,  the  Rev.  Lawrence  M.  Idleman,  remained 
only  from  May  1  till  Christmas.  During  191 2  the  Rev.  Frederick  W. 
Pratt  was  in  charge  of  St.  Matthias'  until  compelled  to  resign  on  ac- 
count of  ill-health.  During  the  first  half  of  1913  the  Rev.  Henry  Wood 
was  in  charge.  At  this  time  the  church  was  freed  from  debt,  and  was 
consecrated  by  Bishop  Johnson  on  February  23,  the  eve  of  St.  Matthias' 
Day. 

On  October  1,  1913,  the  Rev.  Herbert  V.  Harris  assumed  charge  of 
the  work,  and  during  his  incumbency  the  little  rectory  was  built.  He 
was  also  in  charge  of  All  Saints'  Church,  Brawley,  and  after  the  mid- 
dle of  1914  was  given  charge  of  that  work  only.  Late  in  that  year  the 
Rev.  Timon  E.  Owens  was  appointed  to  St.  Matthias',  but  only  re- 
mained for  six  months.  From  December,  1915,  till  June  1,  1916,  St. 
Matthias'  was  under  the  care  of  the  Rev.  Randolph  Leigh  of  Brawley. 
Since  October  1,  1916,  the  services  have  been  provided  by  the  Rev.  C. 
Rankin  Barnes,  with  residence  at  El  Centro. 

THE  FIRST  BAPTIST  CHURCH  OF  BRAWLEY 

The  religious  effort  which  developed  into  the  present  church  organiza- 
tion was  a  weekly  preaching  service  and  prayer  meeting  established  by 
Rev.  T.  L.  Taylor  in  the  Masonic  Hall,  in  Brawley,  in  the  month  of 
April,  1908.  Rev.  Taylor,  who  had  removed  from  San  Pedro,  Califor- 
nia, in  December,  1907,  sought  to  begin  a  Baptist  work  immediately  on 
his  arrival,  but  the  Methodists  and  Presbyterians  were  occupying  the 
Masonic  Hall,  the  only  available  place  in  town  in  which  to  conduct 
services.  The  following  April,  however,  the  Methodist  folk  moved  into 
their  newly  finished  church  house,  thus  making  room  for  the  Baptist 
services  in  the  hall.  Services  were  continued  in  Masonic  Hall  for  a 
while,  then  in  Rev.  Taylor's  home,  and  later  in  the  public  school  build- 
ing. 

When  the  Baptists  began  to  plan  for  a  church  organization  they 
were  told  by  some  that  the  town  already  had  more  churches  than  it 
could  support.  But  Baptists  are  rather  persistent,  and  went  ahead  and 
organized  a  regular  Baptist  Church,  January  10,  1909,  with  ten  charter 


174 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


members,  as  follows :  Rev.  T.  L.  Taylor,  Ethel  Perryman,  Lena  Taylor, 
W.  J.  Taylor,  Curt  Holland,  Lee  T.  Holland,  Mrs.  S.  E.  Wheelan,  P. 
W.  Ward,  Minnie  McKeehn,  and  Lackey  Darnell.  Rev.  T.  L.  Taylor 
was  chosen  as  pastor  and  Curt  Holland  as  church  clerk. 

Plans  for  a  church  home  were  put  on  foot.  One  lot  was  purchased 
and  another  was  given  by  the  Brawley  Building  Loan  and  Improvement 
Company,  and  the  present  structure  was  built  on  these  lots  in  the  sum- 
mer of  1910.  The  work  of  construction  was  placed  under  a  foreman. 
Part  of  the  labor  was  donated  by  members  of  the  church.  In  November 
of  the  same  year  the  house  was  dedicated  with  a  debt  of  about  $1250. 
The  Home  Mission  Society  was  appealed  to,  which  responded  with  a 
donation  of  $500  and  a  loan  of  $500.  The  debt  of  $750  thus  left  on  the 
house  has  been  paid  a  little  each  year,  the  last  installment  of  which  was 
raised  October  28  of  this  year.  It  gives  the  church  great  joy  to  come  to 
the  ninth  anniversary  with  no  debt  and  with  a  small  balance  in  the 
treasury. 

Since  the  organization  of  the  church  five  pastors  have  served.  Rev. 
T.  L.  Taylor  had  the  honor  of  being  the  first,  and  served  the  church  for 
three  years  and  five  months,  resigning  June  10,  1912.  In  the  interim 
Rev.  Amos  Robinson  and  Mr.  Frederick  Rapson  supplied  the  pulpit. 
October  13,  1912,  Rev.  Carl  Bassett,  a  licentiate  of  Calvary  Baptist 
Church,  Los  Angeles,  was  called  to  be  pastor  and  ordained  by  the 
church. 

Rev.  Bassett  served  the  congregation  about  a  year  and  resigned.  The 
church  then  called  Rev.  John  Boyd,  who  served  as  pastor  from  Septem- 
ber 6  to  June  or  July,  1914.  Rev.  A.  F.  Wallis  next  took  charge  of  the 
church  in  September  following  Rev.  Boyd's  resignation,  and  continued 
till  November,  1916.  The  church  was  then  without  a  pastor  until  March, 
when  the  present  incumbent,  D.  W.  Beberly,  took  charge  as  supply  pas- 
tor during  the  Ilermiston  meetings,  and  was  regularly  chosen  April  4, 
1917. 

The  church  has  been  prosperous  as  could  be  expected  in  a  transient 
district  in  which  constructive  work  on  the  ranches  and  in  business  is 
the  watch-word.  It  has  had  its  ups  and  downs,  but  more  ups  than 
downs.  Under  Rev.  Taylor  it  increased  to  fifty  odd  members;  the  mem- 
bership also  increased  materially  under  Rev.  Bassett.  The  rest  of  the 
ministers  contributed  their  part  toward  the  church's  growth.  The  pres- 


RELIGIOUS  175 

ent  membership  is  104.  And  now  since  we  are  out  of  debt,  and  since  we 
are  getting  our  departments  into  a  better  organized  and  modernized 
shape,  we  are  looking  forward  to  a  period  of  genuine  prosperity  and 
permanent,  intelligent  advancement  along  all  lines  of  the  highest  type  of 
church  growth. 

The  average  attendance  of  the  Sunday  School  is  sixty-five.  The  B.  Y. 
P.  U.  and  Woman's  Missionary  Circle  are  successfully  doing  good 
work.  Since  Mr.  Beverly  took  charge  forty  odd  members  have  joined 
the  church. 

FREE  METHODIST  CHURCH  OF  BRAWLEY 

The  Free  Methodist  Church  of  Brawley  was  organized  by  District  El- 
der David  McLeod  in  1912,  with  eleven  charter  members,  as  follows: 
C.  H.  Ruth,  Grace  Ruth,  Levina  Bailey,  Electa  Robb,  E.  M.  Robb, 
Carrie  Robb,  W.  N.  Jones,  Clara  Jones,  Rachel  Lyall,  Wm.  Nixon,  J. 
P.  Heil.  In  191 3  a  nice,  well-furnished  church  with  two  lots,  on  the 
corner  of  Imperial  and  D  streets,  was  purchased  from  the  Nazarene 
Church.  D.  D.  Dodge  served  as  pastor  in  1912  and  D.  A.  Heck  in  1913, 
and  S.  W.  Stone  in  1914.  F.  A.  Ames,  the  present  pastor,  is  closing  his 
third  year  and  has  seen  the  membership  grow  from  eight  full  members 
and  two  probationers  to  seventeen  full  members  and  fourteen  proba- 
tioners. While  S.  W.  Stone  was  pastor  a  parsonage  was  built. 

There  is  an  active  Woman's  Foreign  Missionary  Society,  with  Mrs. 
Grace  Ruth  as  president.  A  flourishing  Sunday  School  is  doing  good 
work  with  forty  members.  The  church  property  is  free  from  debt.  The 
pastor  has  a  Sunday  afternoon  appointment  in  the  schoolhouse  at 
Westmoreland,  and  a  regular  Sunday  evening  street  meeting  is  held  in 
Brawley,  which  is  largely  attended. 

SACRED  HEART  CHURCH,  BRAWLEY 

Brawley,  previous  to  December  13,  1908,  offered  no  church  to  the  small 
Catholic  population.  On  December  13,  1908,  a  modest  wooden  structure 
witnessed  the  first  services.  Mass  was  celebrated  by  Rev.  F.  Bewel- 
bach,  who  then  made  his  residence  in  El  Centro.  January  18,  1910, 
Father  Bewelbach  took  up  his  residence  at  Brawley.  After  zealous  la- 
bors and  co-operation  of  his  good  people,  he  was  able  to  erect  the  beau- 
tiful edifice  which  now  stands  as  a  memorial  to  his  zeal.  The  new 


I76  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

church  was  completed  and  dedicated  by  the  late  Rt.  Rev.  Thos.  J. 
Conaty,  D.  D.,  bishop  of  Monterey  and  Los  Angeles,  in  the  latter  part 
of  1912.  Father  Bewelbach's  desire  now  was  to  erect  a  schoolhouse 
where  the  Catholic  children  could  be  educated  in  their  religion  and 
receive  the  mental  equipment  necessary  for  their  success  in  life.  This 
cherished  hope  was  realized  in  the  latter  part  of  191 5,  when  the  beauti- 
ful school  building  now  standing  adjacent  to  the  church  was  dedicated 
and  opened  to  the  children.  The  Sacred  Heart  Church  and  school  are 
the  pride  and  boast  of  not  only  the  Catholic  people,  but  also  of  the  non- 
Catholics  who  contributed  so  generously  to  the  undertaking.  Father 
Bewelbach  resigned  his  pastoral  office  July  15,  1917,  and  was  succeeded 
by  Rev.  J.  A.  Martin,  the  present  incumbent.  The  parish  is  growing  in 
leaps  and  bounds.  Its  school  facilities,  under  the  able  direction  of  the 
sisters  of  St.  Joseph,  of  Eureka,  California,  are  extended  to  and  en- 
joyed by  non-Catholic  children  as  well  as  Catholics. 


CHAPTER  VII 
LIBRARY  DEVELOPMENT 

BY  MRS.  THOMAS  B.  BEEMAN,  COUNTY  LIBRARIAN 

In  the  early  days  of  Imperial  Valley  one  would  think  that  books  would 
have  little  part  in  the  busy  and  strenuous  days  of  the  pioneer,  but  we 
find  as  early  as  1905,  a  great  desire  for  the  companionship  of  books 
manifested  itself  and  the  small  settlement  in  El  Centro  made  applica- 
tion to  the  state  library  for  one  of  their  traveling  libraries.  This  was 
sent  shortly  and  placed  in  the  first  business  building  erected  in  El  Cen- 
tro, a  hardware  store  which  also  housed  the  postoffke. 

Mrs.  J.  Stanley  Brown,  the  wife  of  the  owner  of  the  building,  be- 
came the  custodian  of  the  traveling  library.  Each  month  a  new  library 
of  fifty  books  came  from  the  state  library  and  the  old  books  were  re- 
turned. In  1907  the  library  was  moved  to  the  book  and  stationery 
store  of  Albert  Durham.  This  store  was  in  the  room  now  occupied  by 
J.  L.  Travers.  The  old  jail  on  Fifth  street,  which  was  opposite  the  Holt 
Opera  House,  provided  the  next  home  for  the  books.  Later  on  as  busi- 
ness increased  in  El  Centro,  the  library  was  again  homeless,  and  an  ap- 
peal was  made  to  its  first  benefactress,  Mrs.  Brown,  located  at  663 
Olive  Street,  to  take  charge  again,  which  she  did.  At  this  time,  Phil  D. 
Swing  took  the  initial  steps  to  procure  a  Carnegie  Library  building. 
During  the  time  of  this  procedure  the  books  were  moved  to  the  back 
room  of  Mr.  Durham's  present  place  of  business  on  Sixth  Street.  Miss 
Merle  Whitescarver  became  the  custodian  and  the  library  business  was 
carried  on  here  until  the  completion  of  the  Carnegie  building. 

HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  LIBRARY 
BY  MRS.  W.  A.  EDGAR  AND  JESSIE  HOYT  HATCH,  LIBRARIAN 

In  the  early  days  in  Imperial  Valley,  when  most  of  the  homes  were 
tents  very  limited  in  space,  the  question  of  where  our  men  and  boys 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

would  spend  their  spare  time  and  evenings,  was  finally  solved  by  a  few 
earnest  women  banded  together  in  the  work  of  the  W.  C.  T.  U.  lUeir 
names  ought  to  certainly  go  down  in  the  history  of  these  early  begin- 

"'"iSremost  in  this  early  activity  appears  the  names  of  Mrs.  W.  A  Ed- 
gar, as  secretary  of  the  library,  and  associated  with  her  in  raising  funds 
for  its  support  is  the  name  of  Mrs.  S.  M.  Bixby;  Mrs.  M   P.  Grove, 
who  gave  a  musicale  and  realized  therefrom  $19.10 ;  Mrs.  Chaplin  Mrs. 
Tout  and  many  others  who  have  passed  from  these  early  scenes  of  pio- 
neer days  The  reading  room  opened  in  October,  1906,  under  the  aus- 
pices of  the  W  C  T  U.  Rev.  W.  H.  Wales  donated  a  large  number  of 
volumes  as  a  start  toward  a  library.  A  small  room  was  rented  from 
W  G  Mugf  ord,  one  of  the  old  pioneers  who  has  now  gone  to  his  final 
rest  The  room  stood  about  where  the  Imperial  Pharmacy  now  stands. 
Within  a  year  the  little  room  became  so  well  patronized  that  it  was 
necessary  to  move  into  a  more  commodious  location.  A  social  was 
given  to  which  the  price  of  admission  was  a  book,  or  the  price  of  a 
book   and  that  added  considerably  to  the  list  of  reading  matter.  Re- 
quests for  subscriptions  to  newspapers  and  magazines  were  generously 
responded  to  by  the  publishers.  The  running  expenses  were  met  by  pop- 
ular subscription.  Mrs.  Tout,  the  wife  of  the  pastor  of  the  Christian 
Church  at  that  time,  and  who  has  passed  beyond,  was  a  very  energetic 
worker  for  the  little  reading  room  which  was  put  under  the  charge  of 
Mrs.  S.  M.  Bixby. 

Mrs  D  D.  Lawrence  was  the  first  salaried  custodian  of  the  reading 
room  It  was  not  long  until  the  requirements  grew  beyond  the  possibili- 
ties of  the  little  reading  room,  and  through  the  efforts  of  those  inter- 
ested in  this  primitive  library,  the  board  of  city  trustees  was  persuaded 
to  apply  to  Andrew  Carnegie  for  a  fund  for  a  library  building.  This 
request  was  complied  with  early  in  the  year  of  1908,  and  about  a  year 
later  Mr.  Carnegie  placed  $10,000  at  the  disposal  of  the  library  board. 
This  was  the  first  library  established  in  the  Imperial  Valley. 

The  subscription  library,  supplemented  by  a  collection  of  traveling 
library  books  from  the  state  library,  continued  to  supply  our  fast  grow- 
ing populace  with  good  literature  until  it  merged  into  the  Carnegie 
Public  Library,  and  was  formally  opened  to  the  public  April  3,  1909. 
The  library  continued  in  rented  quarters  until  the  completion  of  a 


LIBRARY  DEVELOPMENT  179 

Carnegie  Library  building  when  it  was  formally  opened  in  December, 
1910.  The  grounds  planted  to  trees,  shrubs  and  flowers  are  well  cared 
for  and  present  an  inviting  feature. 

As  the  library  is  an  integral  part  of  education  the  co-operation  of 
schools  and  library  is  made  a  special  feature  of  classes  from  the  high 
schools  which  are  instructed  in  the  use  and  arrangement  of  books.  The 
story  hour  for  the  children,  the  Audubon  Club  for  the  older  ones,  the 
child's  study  club  for  the  mothers,  are  all  under  the  direction  of  Mrs. 
Hatch,  who  has  brought  the  library  to  its  present  and  efficient  condi- 
tion. 

ESTABLISHING  THE  COUNTY  LIBRARY 
BY  MRS.  THOMAS  B.  BEEMAN 

In  February,  1912,  the  supervisors  established  the  County  Library 
with  headquarters  at  the  county  seat,  El  Centro,  in  the  Public  Library. 
Imperial  County  was  the  sixteenth  county  library  to  be  established  in 
the  state.  Miss  Anne  Madison  (now  Mrs.  Thomas  B.  Beeman)  was  ap- 
pointed County  Librarian. 

No  funds  were  available  until  the  following  September,  but  the  State 
Library  made  a  loan  of  885  books,  to  give  us  a  start.  Permission  was 
granted  by  the  library  board  of  the  El  Centro  Public  Library  to  loan 
us  some  of  their  books,  so  some  of  the  state  library  books  were  placed 
on  the  shelves  of  the  public  library  and  some  of  their  books  sent  with 
the  rest  of  the  state  books  to  three  established  branch  libraries :  Braw- 
ley,  Calexico  and  Holtville. 

In  Brawley,  on  April  15,  1912,  a  branch  was  established  on  Main 
Street  in  a  small  store  just  below  the  bungalow  hotel,  Miss  Frances 
Clippinger  being  appointed  custodian.  Book  cases  and  the  necessary 
furniture  were  donated  by  the  people  of  the  town.  The  club  women  do- 
nated a  book  case,  full  of  books,  which  contained  many  books  by  stan- 
dard authors.  A  reception  was  given  in  the  evening  and  speeches  were 
delivered  by  well  known  people  of  Brawley  and  El  Centro,  and  by  the 
County  Librarian,  who  explained  the  whole  system  of  the  county  free 
library.  This  branch  was  moved  from  one  place  to  another  until  1914, 
when  it  was  moved  to  the  beautiful  new  quarters  in  the  new  city  hall. 
The  Brawley  Women's  Club  donated  $100.00  worth  of  furniture,  and 
the  city  fathers  furnished  the  rest  room  adjoining  the  library. 


l8o  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

At  Holtville  about  one  dozen  books  were  found  in  the  old  city  hall 
building  which  were  remnants  of  a  small  library  they  had  had.  On  May 
27th  1912,  a  branch  was  established  in  the  old  city  hall  with  Mrs.  Ida 
Robinson  in  charge.  A  reception  similar  to  that  held  in  Brawley  was 
given  and  in  1918  this  branch  was  moved  to  pleasant  and  commodious 
quarters  in  the  new  city  hall. 

In  the  county  library  service  the  object  is  to  reach  everyone  in  the 
county  to  extend' this  free  book  service.  The  schools  needed  this  ser- 
vice so  the  law  provided  for  the  schools  a  plan  whereby  they  could  re- 
ceive the  free  service  of  the  books  by  turning  over  their  books  and 
library  fund  yearly. 

In  1912  three  schools  took  advantage  of  this  plan.  Today  in  191 8, 
out  of  the  fifty  school  districts  all  but  five  are  affiliated  with  the  County 
Library.  In  1913  more  than  fifteen  other  places  had  been  provided  with 
books,  these  being  placed  in  stores,  postoffices,  drug  stores,  schools  and 
homes.  At  Imperial  Junction  (which  is  now  Niland)  a  unique  branch 
was  established  in  February,  191 3.  Finding  no  available  quarters,  a  box 
car  standing  on  a  side  track  which  was  used  for  a  postoffice  provided 
the  location  for  our  branch  there.  The  branch  proved  very  popular  in  a 
year's  time  and  larger  quarters  were  secured  and  the  branch  was  moved 
to  a  store  which  had  been  erected  in  the  meantime.  In  1918  it  still  has 
a  branch  at  the  store  for  the  adults  and  one  at  the  school  for  the  chil- 
dren. 

Alamo  school  library,  which  was  located  in  the  school  house,  had  to 
find  new  quarters  on  account  of  the  crowded  condition  of  the  schools. 
The  very  enterprising  young  custodian  in  charge  enlisted  the  interest 
of  everyone  living  within  a  radius  of  fifteen  miles,  and  as  a  result,  a 
portable  one-room  building  fitted  up  with  book  shelves  and  attractive 
interior,  was  purchased  by  these  people  and  placed  on  the  school 
grounds.  It  has  become  one  of  the  most  thriving  of  our  branches.  A 
school  library  at  Bard,  situated  on  the  Colorado  river,  has  to  have  its 
books  ferried  across  the  river.  The  horse  and  wagon  carrying  the  books 
drive  right  onto  the  ferry  and  are  ferried  across. 

Great  care  has  been  exercised  in  the  purchase  of  books  so  as  to  get 
the  books  which  the  people  demand  in  good  authentic  editions  and  by 
the  best  authorities,  and  at  the  same  time  as  economically  as  possible. 
The  aim  is  not  to  buy  every  book  a  person  may  ask  for,  but  to  build  up 


LIBRARY  DEVELOPMENT  j8i 

the  library  so  that  it  will  be  a  well-balanced  library  on  different  sub- 
jects. For  the  more  expensive  books  and  particularly  books  called  for 
occasionally,  requests  are  made  to  the  state  library  to  supply  such 
books.  Specialties  are  made  on  some  subjects,  for  instance:  everything 
practical  on  agriculture  is  bought.  Books  on  California  are  freely 
bought.  Everything  on  Imperial  County  which  is  printed  from  a  news- 
paper to  a  book  is  preserved.  The  library,  like  any  other  business,  has 
to  be  advertised.  For  this  purpose  the  newspapers  have  been  used 
freely.  A  booth  was  established  at  the  County  Fair.  Talks  were  given 
by  the  County  Librarian  at  schools  and  clubs,  and  many  window  dis- 
plays have  been  shown. 

Custodians'  meetings  are  held  at  least  once  a  year  at  headquarters. 
At  these  meetings  library  work  in  all  its  phases  is  discussed.  Six 
months  training  courses  have  been  given  by  the  county  library  to  pro- 
vide trained  assistants  for  the  work. 

In  1916  the  county  library  moved  its  headquarters  from  the  public 
library  to  the  Wilson  grammar  school  building  on  West  Main  street. 
In  1917  this  building  became  crowded  and  new  quarters  were  provided 
in  the  high  school  building,  where  the  county  library  is  now  located. 
New  service  is  called  for  at  all  times.  The  county  farm,  which  cares  for 
the  sick  people,  has  its  collection  of  books.  Surveying  parties  working 
for  the  government  sent  word  they  wanted  some  books  about  ten  miles 
out  on  the  desert.  Books  were  sent  them.  The  soldiers  on  our  border, 
at  Calexico,  have  been  provided  with  small  branch  libraries  at  their 
camps.  The  clubs  of  the  valley  are  all  provided  with  material  for  their 
various  programs  and  entertainments. 

Students  taking  correspondence  courses  from  the  University  of  Cali- 
fornia are  given  individual  book  service  and  furnished  with  the  books 
they  need  to  aid  them  in  their  special  subjects.  The  high  schools  be- 
longing to  the  debating  league  have  been  supplied  with  plenty  of  ma- 
terial for  each  subject  debated. 

Since  the  war  a  very  active  part  has  been  taken  by  the  county  library 
in  teaching  conservation  of  food.  Window  displays  on  saving  of  meat, 
sugar,  oils  and  fats,  gardens,  etc.,  have  been  given  with  gratifying  re- 
sults. 

No  books  go  to  waste.  Even  though  they  are  too  worn  to  rebind, 
these  worn  out  books  are  sent  to  the  county  jail  and  county  hospital. 


lg2  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

The  county  library  serves  as  a  big  school  for  all  the  people  whether 
they  are  in  school  or  have  graduated  with  high  honors. 

Total  volumes  in  the  County  Library  January  30,  1917,  were  15,092; 
number  of  branch  libraries  in  the  county  number  58 ;  number  of  schools 
affiliated  with  the  County  Library  number  44;  first  start  of  El  Centro 
Public  Library,  February  21,  1907;  ordinance  passed  establishing  free 
Public  Library  June  29,  1909;  total  cost  of  building,  $11,349-26  ($10,- 
00000  gift  from  Carnegie)  ;  appropriation  from  taxes  first  year,  $3,- 
000  00  ( 1917-1918,  $5,500.00)  ;  number  of  volumes  in  library  first  year, 
703-  March  1918,  7,717;  circulation  first  year,  700  volumes;  circula- 
tion' 1917-1918,  40,363 ;  cardholders  first  year,  91 ;  cardholders  March, 
1918  4271;  first  board  of  trustees:  W.  C.  Whitescarver,  Phil  D. 
Swing  Mrs.  J.  Stanley  Brown,  John  Norton,  Dan  V.  Noland;  present 
board'  J  J.  Simmons,  president;  A.  W.  Swanson,  secretary;  B.  Salo- 
mon, Franklin  Reading,  Chas.  L.  Childers;  first  librarian,  Miss  Merle 
Whitescarver ;  present  librarian,  Miss  Agnes  F.  Ferris. 

CALEXICO  LIBRARY 
BY  MRS.  BESSIE  H.  WOFFOKD 

On  June  3,  1908,  a  number  of  ladies  met  to  organize  a  club,  one  pur- 
pose of  which  was  to  open  a  reading  and  rest  room.  Through  the  me- 
dium of  various  entertainments  and  the  untiring  efforts  of  the  various 
club  members  who  were  called  on  frequently  to  devote  time,  material, 
and  labor,  an  adobe  building,  formerly  a  noted  pool  hall  and  blind  pig, 
was  secured  at  a  nominal  rental,  and  here  was  established  a  reading  and 
rest  room  which  are  well  patronized.  The  first  year,  through  the  efforts 
of  one  woman,  the  subscription  for  seventeen  magazines  was  secured. 
The  Imperial  Valley  Improvement  Company  presented  four  comfort- 
able rocking  chairs  to  the  reading  room. 

Up  to  191 1  the  reading  and  rest  rooms  were  maintained  entirely  by 
the  Woman's  Improvement  Club.  In  191 1  Mr.  Whalen,  the  new  super- 
intendent of  the  Los  Angeles  division  of  the  Southern  Pacific  railway, 
became  interested  in  the  reading  room  as  a  place  for  his  men  in  leisure 
hours,  and  through  his  influence  the  Southern  Pacific  practically  do- 
nated'the  use  of  the  building,  furnished  ice  and  water,  all  of  which  ex- 
penses were  formerly  borne  by  the  Woman's  Club. 


LIBRARY  DEVELOPMENT  ^3 

In  1912  the  Calexico  library  became  a  part  of  the  state  and  county 
library,  and  the  librarian  was  paid  by  the  county,  another  burden  being 
removed  from  the  shoulders  of  the  financial  committee  of  the  club 
women. 

THE  CALEXICO  CARNEGIE  LIBRARY 

Application  for  a  gift  from  the  Carnegie  Corporation  was  made  in 
February,  191 5,  and  a  promise  of  $10,000  was  received  that  spring. 
Plans  were  made  for  a  $10,000  library  building,  but  proceedings  were 
halted  through  the  inability  of  Calexico  to  furnish  a  site  as  required  by 
the  Carnegie  Corporation.  With  the  acqusition  of  Rockwood  Plaza  as 
a  park  and  civic  center  this  difficulty  was  removed,  and  in  February, 

1917,  the  City  of  Calexico  dedicated  a  library  site  in  the  northwest  cor- 
ner of  the  south  half  of  Rockwood  Plaza.  A  new  obstacle  now  appeared 
in  the  fact  that  construction  costs  had  soared  to  such  an  extent  since 
the  approval  of  the  original  plans  that  it  was  impossible  to  count  on 
constructing  the  building  they  called  for  with  less  than  $15,000.  An 
effort  was  then  made  to  secure  an  increase  in  appropriation,  which  the 
extraordinary  growth  of  Calexico  appeared  to  justify.  The  Carnegie 
Corporation,  however,  saw  fit  to  deny  a  further  sum,  and  it  became 
necessary  to  draw  entirely  new  plans  for  a  building  about  three-fourths 
the  size  of  the  one  originally  contemplated.  In  due  time  the  new  plans 
were  approved,  and  on  November  5,  191 7,  bids  were  opened  for  the 
construction  work.  The  lowest  total  sum,  omitting  certain  features, 
which  the  library  board  felt  justified  in  making,  was  $12,337.61.  It  was 
decided  to  pay  the  excess  amount  from  the  library  fund  of  the  City  of 
Calexico  which  had  been  accumulating  since  1915.  Permission  to  do 
this  was  obtained  from  the  Carnegie  Corporation,  and  contracts  were 
let.  The  general  contract  was  practically  concluded  on  February  20, 

1918,  but  to  date  a  few  other  items  remain  uncompleted,  and  consider- 
able of  the  furniture  has  not  arrived,  due  to  freight  congestion  in  the 
east. 

The  building  is  a  two-story  affair,  with  the  lower  story  half  in  base- 
ment, and  is  of  a  semi-Spanish  Mission  style  of  architecture.  It  is  con- 
structed of  hollow  tile,  the  exterior  being  finished  in  white  plaster,  and 
the  roof  of  red  clay  tile.  The  main  floor  plan  is  patterned  quite  closely 
after  certain  requirements  of  the  Carnegie  Corporation,  and  has  adults' 
and  children's  reading  rooms  separated  by  the  librarian's  booth. 


CHAPTER  VIII 
AGRICULTURE 

BY  WALTER  E.  PACKARD 

The  spectacular  incidents  connected  with  the  reclamation  of  the  desert 
and  with  the  subduing  of  the  turbulent  Colorado  have  given  Imperial 
Valley  a  charm  of  romance  that  is  hard  to  equal.  A  history  of  agricul- 
ture under  such  conditions  must  be  a  story  of  human  interest  as  well  as 
a  statistical  record  of  development,  for  the  tabulation  of  crop  values 
and  crop  increases,  or  a  simple  study  of  varieties  and  yields  would 
neglect  the  record  of  human  endeavor  which  has  overcome  obstacles 
well  nigh  insurmountable.  The  spirit  of  the  pioneer  who  traveled  across 
the  wind-blown  wastes  to  build  homes  and  schools  in  the  board  and 
canvas  shanties  of  the  pre-railroad  days  is  the  real  force  that  has  made 
possible  the  remarkable  development  in  Imperial  Valley  agriculture. 

The  rich  natural  resources  in  climate,  soil  and  water  furnished  the 
necessary  raw  material  for  the  fashioning  of  most  productive  farms  by 
the  pioneers.  The  farming  was  at  first  rather  crude,  but  in  fifteen  years 
the  production  has  gone  from  nothing  to  an  annual  output  of  over 
twenty  million  dollars'  worth  of  farm  products.  On  account  of  the 
roughness  of  some  of  the  lighter  soils  the  harder  clay  soils  were  the 
first  to  be  farmed,  and  many  discouragements  were  encountered  during 
the  early  days.  As  the  valley  settled  up  the  rougher  areas  were  leveled 
and  put  into  crop,  so  that  now  over  four  hundred  thousand  acres  are 
under  cultivation.  The  barley  and  grain  sorghums  of  the  early  days, 
although  still  of  importance,  do  not  command  the  same  relative  place 
with  other  crops. 

There  is  no  agricultural  area  in  the  world  where  the  climatic  condi- 
tions are  more  extreme  than  in  Imperial  Valley.  Located  below  sea 
level,  with  a  record  of  humidity  below  that  of  the  Nile  Valley,  with  an 
annual  rainfall  varying  from  two  to  three  inches,  and  with  temperatures 
as  high  as  are  recorded  in  any  agricultural  area,  Imperial  Valley  at  least 
presents  conditions  that  are  unusual.  The  early  spring  and  long  growing 


AGRICULTURE  ^5 

season  make  specialization  possible.  Imperial  Valley  has  become  famous 
for  its  production  of  out-of-season  crops,  such  as  cantaloupes,  early- 
table  grapes  or  lettuce,  for  the  crops  of  high  value  and  unusual  interest 
such  as  dates  and  cotton,  and  for  the  large  yields  of  field  crops  made 
possible  by  the  long  growing  season. 

The  low  humidity,  fewer  cloudy  days,  the  greater  intensity  of  sun- 
light, and  the  higher  temperatures  associated  with  the  lack  of  rainfall 
in  this  arid  belt,  produces  an  environment  widely  different  from  the 
conditions  in  the  rainfall  sections  of  the  South  or  Middle  West,  or  in  the 
semi-arid  sections  of  California.  The  following  table  gives  a  general 
comparison  between  the  meterological  conditions  in  Imperial  Valley 
and  other  sections: 

TEMPERATURE  AND  RAINFALL  RECORDS 

B        ■'  if  •  el     I  •  s       s      1 

•S-2  |  .IS.     .go,      ea  ||        .ia         sl 

08  £  S|.gE       SB  s!s          .S.S          S.S 

ZS  SShShSh  S2         S2         22 

Calexico 10  o  121     18  61.6  9.3         .64      3.58 

Merced    36  173  120     16  53.2  23.7      4.2       10.3 

Phoenix,  Ariz 10  1068  119     17  69  

Cairo,  Egypt 10  100  112     31  67  

Greenville,  Miss 38  397  105       5  64  66.6    32.32    48.01 

Savannah,  Georgia  ....  58  65  105       8  65.5  73.3       33.5     40.42 

Irrigation  has  had  a  slight  effect  on  the  relative  humidity  of  the  Val- 
ley, and  it  is  probable  that  as  the  irrigated  area  extends  the  humidity 
may  continue  to  rise  slightly,  enough  perhaps  to  allow  sensitive  crops  to 
grow  which  at  present  do  not  find  congenial  conditions  in  Imperial  Val- 
ley. This  increased  humidity,  due  to  irrigation,  has  proved  to  be  entire- 
ly local,  however,  as  the  amount  of  evaporation  from  the  irrigated  area 
has  not  been  sufficient  to  affect  the  climatic  conditions  in  the  general 
locality.  A  study  of  the  change  of  humidity  from  the  desert  to  the  cen- 
tral portion  of  the  Valley  shows  a  decided  difference,  a  rather  abrupt 
change  occurring  on  the  line  between  the  desert  and  the  irrigated  area. 
The  humidity  immediately  about  the  plants  in  the  field  is  often  high  on 
account  of  the  rapid  evaporation  from  the  irrigated  land  and  on  account 
of  the  rapid  transportation  of  moisture  from  the  leaves. 


x86  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

The  distinct  advantages  offered  by  the  climate  in  Imperial  Valley  are 
the  earliness  and  the  long  growing  season.  These  were  soon  capitalized 
by  the  settlers,  who  developed  early  truck  which  soon  surpassed  the 
records  from  other  States.  Imperial  Valley  became  known  as  the  can- 
taloupe paradise  of  the  country,  and  over  five  thousand  cars  were 
shipped  from  the  Valley  in  1917.  Other  truck  was  developed  and  is  rap- 
idly gaining  ground.  Live-stock  of  course  became  an  important  part  of 
the  Valley's  industries,  for  the  long  season  for  pasture  and  the  large 
yields  of  forage  to  be  secured  offered  very  favorable  conditions  for  cat- 
tle, hogs  and  dairy  stock.  The  extreme  heat  and  intense  sunlight  during 
the  early  summer  months  were  too  severe  for  certain  sensitive  plants 
such  as  the  avocado  or  the  mango,  and  trials  of  these  and  other  similar 
fruit  failed,  although  these  same  conditions  have  proved  congenial  to 
the  date,  which  bids  fair  to  be  one  of  the  important  outputs  in  the  near 
future. 

The  development  of  agriculture  in  any  country  is  more  or  less  gov- 
erned by  the  soil  conditions  found  in  the  particular  localities,  and  Im- 
perial Valley  is  not  an  exception  to  the  rule.  The  soils  are  rich  from  the 
standpoint  of  mineral  plant  food  elements,  and  if  properly  handled  are 
very  productive.  The  types  vary  from  the  heavy  clay,  which  is  exceed- 
ingly fine  and  hard  to  work,  to  the  loosest  sands,  which  are  porous  and 
contain  little  organic  matter.  The  kind  of  crop  grown  is  determined 
largely  by  the  type  of  soil.  The  truck  and  fruit  planting  are  located  on 
the  sands  and  sandy  loams,  while  the  grains,  both  barley  and  wheat  in 
winter  and  milo  or  corn  in  the  summer,  on  the  clay  loams  and  clays. 
All  of  the  soils  are  deficient  in  organic  matters,  as  would  be  expected, 
and  alfalfa  is  therefore  used  almost  universally  as  a  humus  producer. 
Land  that  has  been  in  alfalfa  for  years  is  worth  far  more  than  raw  land 
for  truck,  cotton  or  fruit,  and  is,  of  course,  in  great  demand.  The  addi- 
tion of  organic  matter,  especially  through  the  growing  of  alfalfa,  proved 
not  only  important,  but  necessary  in  the  early  history  of  the  Valley. 

Much  confusion  occurred  during  the  early  days  on  account  of  the  re- 
ported presence  of  excessive  alkali  salts.  History  has  proved  that  these 
salts  do  exist  in  excessive  quantities  in  certain  portions  of  the  Valley, 
while  as  a  whole  the  agricultural  area  is  comparatively  free  from  exces- 
sive quantities  for  ordinary  field  crops. 

A  discussion  of  agriculture  in  Imperial  Valley  would  not  be  complete 


AGRICULTURE  187 

without  a  word  regarding  the  water  for  irrigation.  There  is  no  stream 
in  America  which  carries  more  silt  per  unit  volume  than  does  the  mud- 
dy Colorado.  The  silt  is  both  a  valuable  fertilizer  in  the  fields  and  a 
menace  in  the  ditches.  Although  the  silts  carried  by  the  canals  carry 
more  fertility  than  is  removed  from  the  soil  by  cropping,  the  annual 
cost  to  the  irrigation  district  is  approximately  half  a  million  dollars. 
The  Arizona  experiment  station  has  figured  that  the  silt  carried  by  the 
river  would  annually  build  a  barrier  sixty  feet  high  over  an  area  a  mile 
square  if  deposited  in  one  place.  In  addition  to  being  valuable  as  a  fer- 
tilizer this  silt  has  prevented  the  rapid  rise  of  water  table  so  common  in 
other  sections,  by  filling  up  the  soil  pores  and  thus  preventing  too  rapid 
penetration.  The  silt  at  the  same  time  has  made  many  of  the  harder 
clay  soils  more  mellow  by  the  deposit  of  sandy  material  on  the  soil 
surface. 

The  plentiful  supply  of  water  in  the  river  has  not  always  been  avail- 
able during  the  late  summer  or  early  fall,  on  account  of  the  lack  of  a 
proper  diversion  works  in  the  river.  Water  is,  of  course,  the  life  of  the 
country,  and  large  losses  have  occurred  through  diversion  troubles. 
The  fact  that  there  is  plenty  of  water  in  the  river  for  use  at  any  time 
during  the  year  is  a  tremendous  asset,  as  is  fully  realized. 

No  experimental  data  existed  to  help  the  farmers  of  Imperial  Valley 
in  meeting  the  new  problems  which  constantly  arose.  Farmers'  institutes 
were  held  during  the  early  days,  and  these  meetings  were  well  attended. 
This  gave  way  to  more  local  meetings  in  school-houses  as  occasion 
arose.  These  local  meetings  have  grown  into  the  Farm  Bureau,  which 
now  has  a  membership  of  about  seven  hundred.  In  order  to  study  the 
effects  of  local  climatic  conditions  on  crop  growth  and  to  secure  reliable 
information  regarding  varieties  best  suited  to  the  section,  the  State 
Legislature  provided  funds  for  the  establishment  of  an  agriculture  ex- 
periment station  farm  of  forty  acres  located  at  Meloland.  This  station 
is  still  in  operation  and  is  working  on  some  of  the  fundamental  prob- 
lems of  the  region.  Several  reports  have  been  printed  as  a  result  of  the 
work  carried  on  at  the  experiment  farm  covering  variety  trials,  soils 
and  irrigation  work,  insect  control  and  cultural  requirements. 

Imperial  Valley  was  settled  in  a  large  part  by  those  who  did  not  have 
a  large  amount  of  capital.  Most  of  the  early  settlers  were  dependent 
upon  early  returns  from  the  land,  or  upon  work  furnished  on  neighbor- 


X88  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

ing  farms  or  by  the  California  Development  Company.  This  fact,  to- 
gether with  a  lack  of  knowledge  regarding  crop  adaptability,  prevented 
a  large  planting  of  fruit,  which  required  time  before  returns  would  be 
forthcoming.  The  Valley  was  therefore  almost  entirely  devoted  to  grain 
and  alfalfa.  Barley  and  wheat  were  the  winter  crops  and  grain  sorghums 
and  alfalfa  were  the  summer  crops.  Alfalfa  was  usually  planted  as  soon 
as  the  land  was  properly  leveled,  barley  being  grown  on  land  as  the 
first  crop  after  leveling. 

The  early  farming  methods  were  not  the  best.  It  was  not  uncommon 
for  a  farmer  to  broadcast  barley  on  newly  leveled  land,  disc  it  in  and 
irrigate  it  up,  harvest  the  crop  and  rely  for  three  or  four  years  on  a 
volunteer  crop  by  discing  and  irrigating  in  the  fall  without  further 
planting.  Results  from  these  careless  methods  did  not  do  justice  to  the 
agricultural  possibilities  of  the  Valley,  but  produced  a  profit  on  the 
small  investment.  An  early  attack  of  rust  prevented  the  extension  of  the 
wheat  acreage,  so  that  barley  was  the  main  and  practically  the  only 
winter  crop  grown  during  the  early  days.  Barley  was  disced  into  the 
alfalfa  during  the  fall  and  produced  a  good  winter  pasture  at  a  time 
when  the  alfalfa  grew  slowly,  besides  making  a  valuable  combination 
crop  in  the  spring.  This  practice  is  still  followed  and  with  good  results. 
The  acreage  in  barley  is  diminishing  as  the  acreage  in  other  crops  in- 
creases. Large  areas  of  the  harder  soils  are  still  devoted  to  barley.  Bar- 
ley is  still  a  valuable  crop  on  diversified  ranches  where  a  small  lot  is 
planted  in  the  ordinary  rotation  to  furnish  grain  or  hay  for  the  stock. 
The  farm  binder  is  becoming  more  common  and  the  old  time  combine  is 
gradually  losing  its  place. 

As  stated  above,  alfalfa  usually  followed  barley  as  the  second  crop 
following  leveling.  Alfalfa  is  the  foundation  of  Imperial  Valley  agricul- 
ture, for  it  not  only  is  one  of  the  universal  crops,  a  crop  which  pays 
well,  but  is  the  basis  of  nearly  all  rotation  schemes.  Bermuda  grass  is 
perhaps  its  greatest  enemy,  but  when  plowed  up  every  four  or  five  years 
the  Bermuda  can  be  effectively  controlled  and  the  regular  crop  produc- 
tion maintained. 

Alfalfa  is  cut  from  five  to  nine  times  in  Imperial  V alley  and  produces 
from  three  to  ten  tons  per  acre  per  year.  Taking  good  and  bad  land  to- 
gether, the  average  yield  has  been  about  four  to  four  and  a  half  tons 
per  acre.  The  yields  vary  of  course  with  the  type  and  soil  and  the  treat- 


AGRICULTURE  189 

ment  given.  The  sandy  loams  have  proven  to  be  the  best  soil  for  alfalfa 
as  for  most  other  crops.  In  addition  to  the  hay  crop  alfalfa  furnishes  a 
valuable  winter  pasture.  Thousands  of  head  of  stock  are  brought  in 
each  winter  to  fatten  on  the  hay  stored  up  from  summer  cuttings.  The 
winter  pasture  is  usually  sold  in  connection  with  the  hay,  the  cattle 
feeding  on  the  pasture  and  being  fed  hay  at  the  same  time.  Most  of  the 
alfalfa  in  the  Valley  is  pastured  at  some  time  of  the  year.  On  dairy  and 
hog  ranches  the  fields  are  pastured  constantly,  a  system  of  rotation  of 
field  giving  the  alfalfa  a  time  to  recover  between  pasturings. 

During  the  early  days  alfalfa  was  planted  in  contour  checks  where 
the  land  was  at  all  rough,  but  this  has  been  changed  so  that  nearly  all 
of  the  fields  are  irrigated  by  the  straight  border  method.  The  borders 
are  usually  forty  to  sixty  feet  wide  and  from  an  eighth  to  a  half  mile 
long.  During  the  winter  the  alfalfa  is  watered  infrequently,  but  during 
the  growing  period  water  is  applied  from  one  to  three  times  a  cutting. 
On  hard  soil  two  irrigations  are  usually  required,  while  on  sandy  soil 
one  irrigation  will  usually  produce  a  crop. 

Grain  sorghums  have  become  established  as  the  summer  grain  crop. 
Milo  predominates,  although  some  Egyptian  corn,  feterita  and  kaffir 
corn  is  raised.  The  grain  sorghums  furnish  a  satisfactory  substitute  for 
Indian  corn  and  are  easily  and  cheaply  harvested  and  are  therefore  very 
satisfactory  under  Imperial  conditions.  Most  of  the  grain  sorghum  is 
fed  in  the  Valley,  although  some  is  shipped  out  to  be  sold  as  chicken 
feed.  The  stalks  are  usually  pastured  off  by  cattle,  sheep  or  hogs.  The 
stalks  make  a  cheap  feed  for  young  growing  stock. 

The  grain  sorghums  are  planted  from  April  to  the  last  of  July.  Spring 
planting  will  mature  a  crop  in  July,  which  allows  for  an  additional  vol- 
unteer crop.  From  half  to  two  tons  are  secured  per  acre  from  the  fall 
crop.  The  advisability  of  attempting  to  secure  two  crops  in  a  season 
has  not  been  universally  accepted  as  good  agriculture. 

Cotton  is  one  of  the  later  additions  to  the  list  of  important  crops  in 
the  Valley.  Although  cotton  was  planted  experimentally  as  early  as 
1902,  no  commercial  plantings  were  made  until  1909,  when  three  hun- 
dred acres  were  planted  and  a  cotton  gin  established.  Since  that  time  the 
cotton  acreage  has  increased  rapidly.  In  1910,  1400  acres  were  planted 
to  cotton;  in  191 1,  14,000  acres;  and  in  1917  approximately  70,000 
acres,  producing  35,000  bales.  Oil  mills  and  cotton  mills  have  been  con- 


190 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


structed  to  care  for  the  crop.  Cotton  has  been  especially  valuable  on  the 
Mexican  side  of  the  line  on  account  of  the  favorable  labor  conditions 
where  Chinese  could  be  imported  and  where  Mexican  labor  was  avail- 
able, and  also  because  the  cattle  business  which  formally  flourished  in 
the  delta  region  became  rather  hazardous  on  the  account  of  the  unsettled 
conditions  of  the  country. 

A  large  number  of  varieties  have  been  tried  out  and  have  proven  sat- 
isfactory. Short  cotton  has  always  predominated  in  spite  of  a  strong 
endeavor  on  the  part  of  those  interested  in  the  future  of  the  industry  to 
establish  a  variety  of  superior  quality.  The  admixture  of  seed  resulting 
from  the  unregulated  plantings  of  various  varieties  has  resulted  in  a 
decided  deterioration  in  the  cotton  grown.  There  is  no  cotton  seed  in 
the  Valley  in  any  quantity  which  is  pure  from  the  variety  standpoint. 
Egyptian  cotton  is  now  receiving  much  favor  on  the  part  of  many  of 
the  cotton  growers  on  account  of  the  high  prices,  the  abnormal  demand 
and  because  of  the  proven  fact  that  Egyptian  cotton  will  stand  a  water 
shortage  with  less  damage  than  other  varieties  now  grown  in  the  Val- 
ley. The  Durango  cotton,  which  made  a  strong  bid  for  supremacy, 
ranks  second  to  the  short  cotton  in  importance  at  the  present  time. 

Cotton  has  proved  to  be  a  valuable  addition  to  the  crops  in  the  Val- 
ley. It  fits  in  well  with  the  general  crop  rotation.  The  labor  load  comes 
during  the  late  spring  at  the  time  of  thinning  and  during  the  fall  and 
winter  at  the  time  of  picking.  Some  difficulty  has  been  experienced  in 
securing  labor,  but  this  difficulty  has  not  proved  so  serious  as  at  first 
anticipated.  Cotton  is  well  adapted  to  the  small  farm,  and  it  is  probable 
that  the  labor  difficulty  will  be  finally  overcome  by  planting  Egyptian 
cotton  on  small  farms,  where  the  labor  of  the  family  can  be  utilized  in 
the  harvest  season. 

The  early  spring  has,  of  course,  developed  an  important  truck  indus- 
try. The  development  of  the  cantaloupe  industry  has  been  phenomenal. 
At  present  over  five  thousand  cars  are  shipped  from  this  Valley  an- 
nually. These  are  shipped  to  all  the  important  cities  of  the  United 
States  and  have  given  the  Valley  considerable  publicity.  The  early  let- 
tuce is  just  assuming  proportions.  Lettuce  is  shipped  in  iced  crates  as 
far  as  Boston.  Winter  cabbage,  onions,  asparagus  and  peas  are  shipped 
in  car-load  lots  and  are  rapidly  becoming  a  larger  factor  in  the  farming 
interests  of  the  Valley. 


AGRICULTURE 


191 


The  agriculture  of  Imperial  Valley  is  based  on  sound  foundation. 
The  live-stock  industry,  including  dairy,  depends  upon  alfalfa,  corn  and 
barley,  and  these  crops  will  always  remain  as  important  crops.  Cotton 
will  no  doubt  survive  with  the  present  extension  of  Egyptian  cotton, 
and  early  truck  will  continue  to  increase  in  volume  on  account  of  the 
distinct  advantages  in  earliness. 


CHAPTER  IX 

HORTICULTURE 
BY  F.  W.  WAITE 

In  discussing  the  development  of  Imperial  County's  horticultural  in- 
terests, we  must  take  into  consideration  the  fact  that  in  1900  the  popu- 
lation was  nothing,  consequently  there  was  nothing  produced.  In  1917 
the  population  was  fifty  thousand,  with  a  production  of  commodities 
valued  at  thirty-three  million  dollars  (about  the  same  amount  as  the 
assessed  valuation).  This  production  consisted  mostly  of  alfalfa,  bar- 
ley, corn,  cotton  and  cattle,  not  forgetting  that  these  four  hundred 
thousand  acres  had  to  be  reclaimed  from  a  desert  waste ;  all  this  having 
been  done  in  seventeen  years,  there  was  very  little  time  to  devote  to  the 
planting  of  fruit  trees.  Since  the  year  1912  and  including  the  year  1917, 
the  following  fruit  and  other  trees  have  been  brought  into  the  county, 
according  to  the  records  of  this  office:  1528  almond,  4622  apple,  16,748 
apricot,  130,998  berry,  68  cherry,  4702  fig,  2088  grape,  2190  lemon,  22,- 
207  olive,  40,295  orange,  9983  peach,  8499  pear,  1485  plum,  270  prune, 
and  625,247  ornamental.  A  few  imported  date  palms  and  many  thou- 
sand date  seeds  have  been  planted.  This  gives  an  idea  as  to  the  principal 
kinds  of  fruit  now  growing  in  the  country,  at  the  same  time  many  trees 
have  been  grown  in  the  Valley  which  will  increase  the  number  consid- 
erably. During  the  past  years  nearly  every  kind  of  fruit  and  nuts  grown 
have  been  planted  here,  and  it  is  possible  to  raise  at  least  enough  of  them 
for  family  use,  with  the  exception  of  the  cherry  and  walnut. 

On  account  of  the  extremely  long  hot  season,  fruit  ripens  very  early, 
going  on  the  market  the  first  of  the  season  with  no  competition,  the  pro- 
ducers thereby  receiving  very  attractive  returns.  Grapes  are  one  of  the 
best  and  leading  fruits  of  the  Valley,  the  early  varieties — Persians — be- 
gin ripening  the  first  of  June,  followed  closely  by  the  Thompson  seed- 
less, then  the  Malagas,  which  continue  through  the  shipping  season  to 
about  the  last  of  July.  Many  other  varieties  do  well  here  that  have  not 
been  successfully  grown  in  other  sections  of  the  State.  Experiments  are 


HORTICULTURE 


193 


being  made  with  many  other  varieties  and  there  are  some  now  very 
promising  that  may  take  the  place  of  the  present  commercial  varieties. 
There  are  one  thousand  and  ten  acres  of  old  bearing  vines  and  several 
hundred  acres  of  new  plantings.  About  one  hundred  and  eighty  cars  of 
the  fruit  crop  are  shipped  east  each  year  and  bring  fancy  prices.  It  is 
possible  to  raise  three  crops  each  season. 

Grapefruit  has  proven  to  be  the  best  of  the  citrus  fruits,  young  trees 
three  years  old  have  the  size  of  trees  in  other  localities  twice  their  age 
and  yield  considerable  fruit.  There  have  been  more  grapefruit  trees 
planted  in  this  county  than  any  other  variety,  as  will  be  noted  by  the 
above  record.  The  largest  orchard  of  grapefruit  consists  of  sixty  acres. 
The  long  hot  summer  does  wonders  for  the  quality  of  this  fruit.  To  give 
an  uninterested  person's  opinion,  I  will  quote  from  an  expert  of  the 
United  States  Department  of  Agriculture,  who  says,  "The  fruit  which 
you  sent  me  have  fine  quality,  very  juicy  and  sweet,  the  flesh  is  tender 
and  there  is  little  rag,  the  rind  is  thin,  and  as  a  whole  I  should  say  .that 
the  fruit  is  of  a  superior  and  pleasing  quality."  Very  little  sugar  is 
needed  in  eating  Imperial  Valley  grapefruit. 

Lemons  do  very  well,  growing  a  very  juicy  fruit,  with  thin  skin  and 
full  of  acid. 

Many  varieties  of  oranges  have  been  tried  out,  the  seedlings  produce 
the  best  quality  of  fruit ;  however,  the  Washington  navels  ripen  the  first 
of  November  and  should  be  picked  as  soon  as  ripe  for  best  results. 

There  are  many  olive  trees  planted  in  different  sections  of  the  Val- 
ley, the  largest  orchard  consists  of  forty  acres.  Of  the  deciduous  fruit 
the  apricot  is  in  the  lead.  The  early  varieties  ripen  by  April  the  twenti- 
eth, and  shipments  continue  until  the  last  of  May.  Newcastle  and  Royal 
are  the  principal  varieties.  It  is  almost  unbelievable  how  fast  apricot 
trees  grow  in  this  Valley.  With  good  care  a  year  old  tree  is  the  size  of  a 
tree  three  years  old  in  other  districts. 

Nearly  all  varieties  of  peaches  have  been  tried  and  the  Chinese  and 
southern  varieties  have  proven  to  be  the  most  profitable,  however 
peaches  are  not  considered  commercially. 

Pears  are  being  tried  out  on  quite  a  large  scale,  one  orchard  consists 
of  sixty  acres  and  is  reported  as  successful. 

This  is  a  natural  country  for  the  fig,  which  produces  large,  firm 
quality  fruit. 


194 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


Many  people  predict  that  the  date  industry  in  Imperial  Valley  will 
develop  into  one  of  great  importance.  Due  to  the  fact  that  it  is  impos- 
sible to  obtain  imported  date  offshoots,  as  there  is  an  embargo  on  ac- 
count of  the  war,  it  is  slow  to  establish  the  business  by  planting  seeds, 
although  many  promising  fruits  have  been  obtained  in  that  way.  At  the 
present  time  there  are  several  promising  gardens  here,  and  the  fruit  is 
as  fine  as  that  raised  in  Algeria,  Arabia  or  any  of  the  Sahara  countries. 
It  is  possible  to  utilize  many  thousand  acres  of  land  not  suited  for  agri- 
cultural crops  for  the  growing  of  dates. 

Our  commercial  berry  is  the  strawberry,  and  they  do  well,  producing 
a  fine  fruit  and  netting  the  grower  a  handsome  profit.  Last  season  six 
cars  were  shipped  and  it  is  estimated  for  1918  that  there  will  be  four- 
teen carloads.  This  county  is  noted  for  its  rapid  increase  in  develop- 
ments along  all  lines  of  production. 

Much  could  be  said  for  the  cantaloupe  of  this  Valley,  as  this  county 
produces  more  cantaloupes  than  any  one  State  in  the  Union.  All  the 
markets  of  the  country  know  of  the  Imperial  Valley  cantaloupe.  In 
1917  there  were  thirteen  thousand  acres  planted  and  over  five  thousand 
carloads  shipped.  The  melons  are  marketed  through  a  marketing  bureau 
conducted  by  the  United  States  Department  of  Agriculture  bureau  of 
markets.  Planting  season  begins  January  1,  under  cover,  and  the  ship- 
ping season  begins  about  the  middle  of  May. 

Asparagus  is  one  of  the  products  of  this  Valley  that  brings  the  great- 
est returns  to  the  owners  of  any  of  the  present  crops.  The  season  opens 
about  the  fifth  of  February  and  continues  for  a  couple  of  months.  Early 
in  the  season  it  is  not  uncommon  to  receive  one  dollar  and  twenty-five 
cents  a  pound  in  the  East. 

INSECTS  AND  OTHER  PESTS  ATTACKING  IMPERIAL  VALLEY  FRUIT  TREES 

Well  selected,  strong  vigorous  root  stock,  properly  planted,  irrigated 
and  cared  for,  will  reduce  the  possible  infestation,  with  few  exceptions, 
to  a  minimum.  Insects  in  many  instances  do  their  work  where  there  has 
been  neglect  on  the  part  of  the  caretaker. 

Many  kinds  of  insects  are  listed  by  entomologists,  preying  on  each 
kind  of  fruit  trees,  all  the  way  from  a  few  up  to  seventy-seven  different 
insects  which  attack  certain  kinds  of  fruit  trees.  One  might  hesitate 
about  going  into  the  fruit  business  on  account  of  the  vast  number  of  in- 


HORTICULTURE  195 

sects  that  are  seemingly  waiting  to  destroy  the  trees,  but  when  under- 
stood and  applied,  perhaps  one  treatment  will  control  the  situation 
against  all  comers. 

So  far  the  damage  done  by  insects  and  other  pests  on  the  apricots  is 
limited.  The  most  serious,  some  seasons,  are  the  linnets  and  sparrows 
eating  the  buds  as  they  begin  to  swell  early  in  the  spring;  these  pests 
are  rather  difficult  to  control.  Thrips  do  some  damage,  but  are  not  of 
so  very  much  importance  to  the  early  varieties.  One  serious  condition 
exists  which  does  a  lot  of  damage,  and  that  is  when  there  are  quantities 
enough  of  alkali  and  lack  of  drainage,  this  causes  the  leaves  and  twigs 
to  die  back  and  finally  the  tree  succumbs.  This  condition  would  be  seri- 
ous for  all  trees. 

Crown  gall  has  made  its  appearance  as  it  always  does  when  trees  of 
this  kind  are  planted.  The  remedy  is  to  plant  trees  known  to  be  free 
from  infestation. 

There  is  a  small  spider  which  does  some  damage  to  the  date  which 
can  be  controlled  by  the  use  of  sulphur. 

Figs  are  quite  free  from  destructive  insects,  birds  and  bees  excepted. 
Soil  conditions  and  humidity  play  considerable  part  in  getting  large 
quantities  of  first  quality  fruit  as  in  date  culture,  but  not  to  great  extent. 

The  insect  that  does  the  most  damage,  and  not  of  very  great  impor- 
tance to  grapes  in  the  Valley,  is  the  grape  leaf  hopper.  To  prevent  the 
introduction  of  Phylloxera,  a  quarantine  is  placed  against  all  sections 
north  of  the  Tehachapi  Mountains,  not  allowing  grape  vines  or  cuttings 
to  enter  this  county  from  infested  districts. 

The  insects  that  prey  upon  the  grapefruit  will  be  the  same  that  attack 
the  entire  citrus  family.  The  scale  insects  that  are  costing  many  thou- 
sands of  dollars  annually  to  control  in  the  citrus  belts  are  not  yet  estab- 
lished in  this  Valley,  yet  we  take  the  stand  that  where  the  host  plant 
lives  the  insects  are  likely  to  live  also. 

While  I  will  admit  that  some  of  the  scale  insects  that  are  very  seri- 
ous in  the  coast  region  do  not  exist  in  our  Valley,  due  to  the  long  seasons 
of  hot  weather,  there  are  other  scale  insects  that  will  thrive  in  this  cli- 
mate as  is  already  the  condition  in  San  Joaquin  Valley,  to  the  extent 
that  crops  of  oranges  have  been  lost  on  account  of  this  scale  insect, 
there  are  also  other  valleys  in  the  State.  I  refer  to  the  Coccus  citricola 
scale,  which  was  first  given  the  name  of  gray  scale.  It  is  absolutely 


196 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


necessary  that  strict  inspection  of  all  citrus  nursery  stock  as  well  as 
citrus  fruit  be  maintained.  To  much  care  can  not  be  taken  to  keep  out 
these  scale  insects.  To  reduce  the  risk  as  much  as  possible  all  citrus 
nursery  stock  must  be  defoliated  and  rosin  washed ;  where  the  mealy 
bugs  are  known  to  exist  the  trees  should  not  only  have  the  above  treat- 
ment, but  should  be  shipped  with  bare  roots,  or  not  allowed  to  enter  the 
county. 

AN  ACT  RELATING  TO  THE  COUNTY  COMMISSIONER  OF  HORTICULTURE 

The  State  of  California  has  enacted  laws  for  the  protection  of  horti- 
cultural and  agricultural  interests,  providing  for  the  establishing  of  hor- 
ticultural commissioners  to  enforce  the  laws.  Sec.  2322A:  "It  shall  be 
the  duty  of  the  county  horticultural  commissioner  in  each  county,  when- 
ever he  shall  deem  it  necessary  to  cause  an  inspection  to  be  made  of  any 
premises,  orchards  or  nurseries  or  trees,  plants,  vegetables,  vines  or 
fruits,  or  any  fruit-packing  house,  storeroom,  salesroom  or  any  other 
place  or  article  in  his  jurisdiction,  and  if  found  infected  or  infested  with 
infectious  diseases,  scale  insects  or  coddling  moth  or  other  insects  or 
animal  pests  injurious  to  fruits,  plants,  vegetables,  trees  or  vines  or 
with  their  eggs  or  larva,  or  if  there  is  found  growing  thereon  the  Rus- 
sian thistle  or  saltwort,  Johnson  grass  or  other  noxious  weeds,  or  red 
rice,  water  grasses  or  other  weeds  or  grasses  detrimental  to  rice  culture, 
he  shall  in  writing  notify  the  owner  or  owners,  or  person  or  persons  in 
charge,  or  in  possession  of  the  said  places,  or  orchards  or  nurseries,  or 
trees  or  plants,  vegetables,  vines  or  rice  fields  or  fields  adjacent  to  rice 
fields,  or  canals  or  ditches  used  for  the  purpose  of  conveying  water  to 
rice  fields  for  the  irrigation  thereof,  or  fruit,  or  article  as  aforesaid, 
that  the  same  are  infected  or  infested  with  said  diseases,  insects,  ani- 
mals, or  other  pests  or  any  of  them,  or  their  eggs  or  larvae,  or  that  the 
Russian  thistle  or  saltwort,  Johnson  grass  or  other  noxious  weeds,  or 
red  rice,  water  grasses  or  other  weeds  or  grasses  detrimental  to  rice  cul- 
ture is  growing  thereon,  and  requires  such  person  or  persons  to  eradi- 
cate or  destroy  or  to  control  to  the  satisfaction  of  the  county  horticul- 
tural commissioner." 

Sec.  2322F :  "Any  person,  persons,  firm  or  corporation  who  shall  re- 
ceive, bring  or  cause  to  be  brought  into  any  county  or  locality  of  the 
State  of  California  from  another  county  or  locality  within  said  State 


HORTICULTURE 


197 


any  nursery  stock,  trees,  shrubs,  plants,  vines,  cuttings,  grass,  scions, 
buds,  or  fruit  pits,  or  fruit  or  vegetables,  or  seed  for  the  purpose  of 
planting  or  propagating  the  same,  or  any  or  all  such  shipments  of  nur- 
sery stock,  shrubs,  trees,  plants,  vines,  cuttings,  grafts,  scions,  buds  or 
fruit  pits,  or  fruit  or  vegetables,  or  seed  or  containers  thereof  or  other 
orchard  appliances  which  the  county  horticultural  commissioner  or  the 
State  commissioner  of  horticulture  may  consider  liable  to  be  infested 
or  infected  with  dangerous  insect  pests  or  plant  diseases  or  noxious 
weed  seeds,  and  which  if  so  infested  or  infected  would  constitute  a 
dangerous  menace  to  the  orchards,  farms  and  gardens  of  the  county  or 
State,  shall  immediately  after  the  arrival  thereof  notify  the  county  com- 
missioner of  horticulture,  his  deputy  or  nearest  inspector  of  the  county 
in  which  such  nursery  stock,  or  fruit  or  vegetable  or  seed  are  received 
of  their  arrival,  and  hold  the  same  without  unnecessarily  moving  or 
placing  such  articles  where  they  may  be  harmful  for  immediate  inspec- 
tion by  such  county  commissioner  of  horticulture,  his  deputy,  inspec- 
tor, or  deputy  quarantine  officer  or  guardian." 

Sec.  2322J :  "Any  person,  persons,  firm  or  corporation  violating  any 
of  the  provisions  of  this  act  shall  be  guilty  of  a  misdemeanor  and  shall 
be  punished  by  imprisonment  in  the  county  jail  for  a  period  not  exceed- 
ing six  months,  or  by  a  fine  not  exceeding  five  hundred  dollars  or  by 
both  fine  and  imprisonment." 


CHAPTER  X 


IMPERIAL  COUNTY  FARM  BUREAU 

BY  ARTHUR  E.  MADISON,  SECRETARY 
DIRECTORS  AND  OFFICERS 


President,  Mike  Liebert 
Vice-President,  W.  R.  Lienau 
Treasurer,  Frank  Vander  Poel 
Secretary,  A.  E.  Madison 


Centers 
Verde, 

Mesquite  Lake, 
Calipatria, 
Acacia, 

Westmoreland, 
Meloland, 
Seeley, 
McCabe, 
Magnolia, 
Eastside, 
South  Fern, 
Mt.  Signal, 
La  Verne, 


Directors 

A.  H.  Smithson, 
Jacob  Lorang, 
H.  H.  Clark. 
J.  M.  Grafton, 

C.  F.  Boarts, 
O.  L.  James, 

D.  F.  Harbison, 
Frank  Vander  Poel 

B.  D.  Irvine, 
Wm.  M.  Abrams, 
W.  R.  Lienau, 
Grover  Lofftus, 
H.  F.  Barton, 


Farm  Adviser,  C.  E.  Sullivan 
Asst.  Farm  Adviser,  J.  E.  Hertel 
Home  Demonstration  Agent,  Mrs.  Delia 
J.  Morris 

Farm  Home  Dept.  Chairmen 
Mrs.  A.  H.  Smithson 
Mrs.  W.  H.  Kirby 
Miss  May  Beattie 
Mrs.  Frank  M.  Ballou 
Mrs.  L.  O.  Bannister 
Mrs.  Walter  Wilkinson 
Mrs.  Wm.  M.  Moores 
Mrs.  Frank  M.  Moore 
Mrs.  B.  D.  Irvine 
Mrs.  F.  M.  Wright 
Miss  Mildred  Boyd 
Mrs.  Stuart  Swink 
Miss  Elsie  Angel 


"When  tillage  begins  other  arts  follow ;  the  farmers,  therefore,  are  the 
founders  of  human  civilization,"  the  truth  of  which  is  exemplified  in  no 
greater  degree  than  in  the  Imperial  Valley — that  desert  empire  which 
by  peaceful  though  ruthless  conquest  was  wrested  by  the  Colorado 
River  from  the  mountain  and  valley  soils  of  neighboring  States  now 
known  as  Arizona,  New  Mexico,  Nevada,  Utah,  Colorado  and  Wyo- 
ming. For  unknown  periods  of  time  that  river  has  been  busy  in  the  pro- 
cess of  erosion  of  rich  earths,  their  transportation  as  silt,  and  finally 


IMPERIAL  COUNTY  FARM  BUREAU 


199 


depositing  them  on  the  bed  of  an  inland  sea,  probably  at  one  time  a  part 
of  the  Gulf  of  California.  After  carefully  spreading  this  vast  tableland 
over  an  area  of  approximately  a  million  acres  from  coast  mountains  to 
Yuma  sand  hills  and  from  Mexico  northward  half  a  hundred  miles,  the 
Colorado  wandered  away  to  other  fields,  leaving  a  parched,  unfruitful 
waste. 

And  then  came  the  engineer  and  promoter  and  led  back  this  life- 
giving  stream,  through  canals  and  ditches,  to  convert  this  desert  terrain 
into  fertile  fields,  where  "earth  is  here  so  kind  that  just  tickle  her  with 
a  hoe  and  she  laughs  with  a  harvest." 

Then  came  the  pioneer  farmers,  tradesmen,  laborers,  merchants,  pro- 
fessional and  scientific  men ;  railroads  were  built,  villages  gj  ew  to 
towns  and  cities ;  production  of  crops  increased  until  at  the  end  of  the 
first  decade  of  the  organization  of  the  county,  over  $40,000,000  had 
been  produced,  and  the  population  had  grown  to  over  40,000. 

The  cities  organized  commercial  clubs  and  chambers  of  commerce  to 
promote  the  civic,  industrial  and  social  welfare  of  the  urban  popula- 
tion and,  later,  in  response  to  a  general  demand  for  an  organization  rep- 
resenting and  furthering  the  interests  of  the  rural  and  agricultural  citi- 
zens of  Imperial  Valley,  a  mass  meeting  was  called  to  take  place  at 
Brawley,  on  December  18,  1915,  whither  over  a  thousand  people  jour- 
neyed from  all  parts  of  the  county  to  take  part  in  the  formation  of  the 
Imperial  County  Farm  Bureau. 

THE  FARM  BUREAU 
OBJECTS  AND  PURPOSES 

The  Farm  Bureau  has  a  unique  place  in  the  life  especially  of  an  agri- 
cultural community,  possessing  the  characteristics  of  a  rural  chamber 
of  commerce,  a  society  for  educational  and  social  purposes,  and  a  clear- 
ing house  for  the  invaluable  agricultural  experiments  carried  on  by  the 
U.  S.  Department  of  Agriculture  throughout  the  nation ;  by  the  colleges 
of  agriculture  and  experiment  stations,  not  only  in  California,  but  in  all 
the  other  States  of  the  Union,  the  results  of  which  are  available  in  bul- 
letin form.  (Hundreds  of  these  bulletins  are  on  file  for  free  distribution 
at  Farm  Bureau  Office,  El  Centro). 


200  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

The  Farm  Bureau  is  county  wide  in  its  scope,  embracing  within  one 
central  organization  fourteen  local  associations  called  "farm  centers." 

Farm  Centers.  Each  farm  center  is  a  distinct  and  independent  unit, 
with  a  president,  vice-president  and  secretary,  and  with  headquarters 
usually  at  the  district  schoolhouse,  where  one  regular  monthly  meeting 
is  held  each  month,  with  a  program  consisting  of  talks  by  the  farm  ad- 
viser or  his  assistant,  the  home  demonstration  agent,  by  experts  and 
specialists  from  the  University  of  California,  the  U.S.  Department  of 
Agriculture,  experiment  stations,  and  by  educational  and  other  public 
officials.  To  further  enliven  the  meeting,  music,  motion  pictures  or 
other  entertainment  features  are  given,  often  followed  by  a  social  time 
and  refreshments.  In  fact  the  farm  center  contributes  to  the  welfare  of 
the  rural  community  as  no  other  single  agency  has  been  able  to  do.  Be- 
sides the  regular  monthly  meetings,  special  meetings  are  called  for  spe- 
cial purposes,  notably  Red  Cross  work,  demonstrations  in  food  con- 
servation, good  roads,  and  other  matters  of  local  interest. 

Organization.  The  presidents  of  these  fourteen  farm  centers  also  act 
in  the  capacity  of  director  of  the  central  organization,  the  County  Farm 
Bureau.  President,  vice-president,  secretary  and  treasurer  are  elected 
at  the  annual  meeting  and  serve  one  year.  Meetings  are  held  once  each 
month,  or  oftener  on  call  of  the  president.  Besides  these  officers,  there 
is  a  staff  of  farm  adviser,  assistant  farm  adviser  and  home  demonstra- 
tion agent. 

Farm  Adviser.  The  farm  adviser  is  usually  a  graduate  of  an  agricul- 
tural college  with  a  practical  experience  in  farming,  and  it  is  no  exag- 
geration to  say  that  he  is  one  of  the  busiest  men  in  the  county,  inasmuch 
as  his  hours  run  from  early  morning  until  past  midnight  fourteen  days 
of  each  month.  Night  meetings  are  held  in  fourteen  different  centers, 
and  to  these  the  farm  adviser  travels  to  give  talks  on  various  subjects, 
ranging  from  disease  control  of  dairy  cattle,  such  as  hog  cholera,  black- 
leg and  tuberculosis,  roup  in  poultry,  etc.,  through  subjects  such  as  si- 
lage crops,  silos,  pig  club  work,  home  gardens,  cotton  culture  and  vari- 
eties, soils,  drainage,  grasshopper  control,  contagious  abortion  in  cattle, 
lungworms,  etc.  Various  specialists  from  the  university  accompany  him 
on  these  trips  and  give  lectures  on  many  of  the  above-named  subjects. 
During  the  day  the  farm  adviser  is  busy  with  calls  from  all  parts  of  the 
Valley  for  soil  examinations,  help  in  treating  sick  hogs,  cattle,  chickens, 


IMPERIAL  COUNTY  FARM  BUREAU  201 

advice  in  planting  various  crops,  in  drainage,  in  construction  of  silos, 
etc.  His  Ford  is  seen  shooting  here  and  there  like  a  comet  with  a  long 
tail  of  dust  to  various  parts  of  the  Valley. 

State  Leader  of  Farm  Advisers.  The  farm  adviser  movement  is  car- 
ried on  under  the  leadership  of  State  Leader  of  Farm  Advisers  B.  H. 
Crocheron,  and  Assistant  State  Leader  Professor  W.  E.  Packard.  An- 
nually and  sometimes  oftener  conferences  are  called  of  all  the  advisers 
in  the  State,  together  with  delegates  from  each  of  the  farm  bureaus  in 
the  State  for  a  conference,  which  results  in  unifying  the  movement. 

Cow-Testing  Department.  A  cow-testing  association,  the  largest  in 
the  world,  was  organized,  with  over  4000  cows,  with  four  testers  at 
work,  to  aid  by  scientific  means  the  dairyman  in  ridding  his  herd  of  un- 
profitable cows.  Testing  is  for  butterfat  and  milk  production,  and  the 
following  will  show  the  results  aimed  at :  Cow  No.  1  produced  in  one 
year  560.4  pounds  of  butterfat,  with  an  income  from  the  butterfat,  the 
skim  milk  and  calf,  of  $227.25,  less  a  labor  and  feed  cost  of  $63.60, 
showing  a  profit  of  $163.25 ;  Cow  No.  2,  the  poorest,  produced  in  one 
year  70  pounds  of  butterfat,  with  an  income  from  butterfat,  skim  milk 
and  calf,  of  only  $31.63,  less  a  labor  and  feed  cost  of  $54.50,  showing 
a  net  loss  of  $22.87.  Both  were  good  looking  cows,  but  adding  the  profit 
of  Cow  No.  1,  and  the  loss  of  Cow  No.  2,  showed  a  difference  of  $186- 
.52.  The  value  of  testing  is  readily  apparent.  In  order  to  arouse  interest 
in  testing,  cows  producing  over  45  pounds  butterfat  per  month  are  listed 
in  the  Farm  Bureau  Monthly  each  month,  with  name  of  owner. 

Farm  Home  Department  and  Home  Demonstrator.  This  department 
was  organized  for  the  purpose  of  offering  to  farm  women  opportunities 
for  successfully  meeting  war  emergencies,  and  also  to  improve  farm 
home  conditions  in  the  coming  years  by  means  of  trained  home  demon- 
stration agents.  In  each  of  the  fourteen  farm  centers  a  farm  home  com- 
mittee was  organized  among  the  women  members,  and  a  chairman 
elected.  These  fourteen  chairmen  also  serve  in  the  capacity  of  directors 
on  the  county-wide  organization  of  the  farm  home  department.  While 
it  is  a  department  of  the  farm  bureau,  this  organization  of  women  is 
practically  independent  of  the  main  organization,  taking  on  the  charac- 
ter of  a  rural  women's  club.  Under  the  leadership  of  the  home  demon- 
strator the  principal  work  is  food  conservation,  demonstrations  in  can- 
ning, planning  home  gardens,  kitchen  efficiency,  sanitation  and  kindred 


202  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

subjects.  The  home  demonstrator  also  attends  the  night  meetings  at  the 
fourteen  different  centers  and  gives  lectures  on  the  subjects  above  men- 
tioned. The  work  promises  to  be  one  of  the  most  important  undertaken. 

ACTIVITIES 

The  accomplishment  of  the  farm  bureau  during  its  short  life  of  less 
than  two  years  cover  a  wide  field,  as  follows  : 

1.  Grasshopper  Campaign.  One  of  the  first  works  undertaken  was 
the  grasshopper  campaign,  with  the  result  that  over  16,000  acres  were 
successfully  "treated"  with  poison  and  ridden  of  these  destructive  pests. 
The  financial  saving  ran  into  thousands  of  dollars. 

2.  Agricultural  Clubs  for  boys  and  girls  have  been  organized  in  the 
Valley  with  excellent  results.  Besides  agricultural  contests,  raising  corn, 
etc.,  pig  clubs  for  both  boys  and  girls  have  been  organized,  there  being 
five  such  organizations  now  in  the  Valley.  These  pig  Clubs  are  a  contest 
in  producing  the  greatest  increase  in  weight  at  the  least  cost  of  labor 
and  feed.  The  contestants  are  largely  guided  by  scientific  data  on  feed- 
ing as  well  as  experience  of  hog  growers.  The  data  from  the  university 
on  pig  feeding  cover  experiments  with  feeding  pigs  on  various  rations 
to  eight  different  lots  of  pigs,  as  follows:  Barley;  barley  and  alfalfa 
pasture ;  barley  and  pasture  with  self  feeder ;  barley,  tankage  and  pas- 
ture ;  barley  and  cut  alfalfa  ;  barley  shorts  and  pasture ;  barley,  cocoanut 
meal  and  pasture ;  milo,  maize  and  tankage  in  self  feeder  and  pasture. 
Results  showed  that  greatest  profits  came  from  the  lot  fed  on  last- 
named  rations,  viz.,  milo,  maize,  tankage  in  self  feeder  and  pasture, 
with  a  profit  of  $7.03,  an  average  feed  cost  of  6  cents,  with  amount  of 
4.1  pounds  feed  per  each  pound  gain.  The  poorest  profit  came  from  lot 
fed  on  barley  alone,  with  a  profit  of  only  $1.42,  an  average  feed  cost  of 
8.1  cents,  with  amount  of  6  pounds  feed  per  each  pound  gain.  At  the 
end  of  the  contest,  which  covers  a  period  of  105  days,  prizes  are  award- 
ed to  the  winners,  consisting  of :  First,  trip  to  Eastern  cities  on  tour 
with  winners  of  agricultural  clubs ;  second,  trips  to  University  Farm  at 
Davis. 

3.  Disease  Control.  In  conjunction  with  the  University  of  California 
and  the  Federal  Government,  hog  cholera  is  being  successfully  combat- 
ed through  vaccination  with  anti-hog-cholera  serum  and  virus  fur- 
nished by  the  university.  The  Federal  Government  also  sends  down 


IMPERIAL  COUNTY  FARM  BUREAU  203 

here  frequently  an  expert  on  cholera,  who  gives  personal  demonstra- 
tions in  vaccination,  and  lectures  on  prevention  by  proper  sanitary 
measures,  etc.,  at  farm  center  meetings.  Bovine  tuberculosis,  contagious 
abortion  in  cattle,  blackleg,  are  treated  in  the  most  approved  manner. 

4.  Landscape  Gardening.  In  no  place  in  the  world  is  the  need  of  beau- 
tification  by  tree  and  shrub  planting  greater  than  in  the  Imperial  Valley. 
The  University  of  California,  through  its  extension  work,  has  sent  ex- 
perts to  work  with  the  farm  bureau  to  work  out  plans  of  landscaping 
the  school  grounds,  several  of  which  are  already  under  way. 

5.  Cost  Records.  In  co-operation  with  the  University,  also,  farmers 
are  being  encouraged  to  keep  records  of  costs  and  profits,  in  order  to 
eliminate  unprofitable  farming.  An  expert  bookkeeping  specialist  is  to 
visit  the  Valley  soon,  starting  each  farmer  who  has  applied  for  the 
course  in  bookkeeping,  and  at  the  end  of  the  year  will  help  him  close  the 
books  and  take  off  a  balance  sheet  of  profit  and  loss  and  point  out  the 
"leaks"  if  any. 

6.  Publicity.  A  monthly  publication,  The  Farm  Bureau  Monthly,  is 
published  each  month  and  mailed  to  all  farm  bureau  members.  This  con- 
tains many  articles  concerning  the  fundamental  problems  of  the  farm- 
ers in  the  Valley,  notices  of  meetings,  personal  items,  progress  of  con- 
tests in  feeding  pigs,  progress  of  cow-testing,  with  butterfat  scores  of 
high  cows,  and  special  articles  by  experts  on  timely  subjects. 

7.  Livestock  Fair.  A  successful  county  fair,  under  the  able  manage- 
ment of  A.  M.  Nelson,  former  secretary,  was  put  on  with  the  co-oper- 
ation of  the  El  Centro  Chamber  of  Commerce.  A  fine  showing  of  regis- 
tered hogs,  cattle,  horses,  poultry  and  turkeys,  was  made  and  prizes 
awarded  to  winners.  The  fair  was  an  unqualified  success  and  bids  fair 
to  become  a  permanent  institution  with  permanent  fair  grounds. 

8.  Irrigation  Problems.  An  uninterrupted  supply  of  water  for  both 
irrigation  and  domestic  use  is  absolutely  necessary  for  the  prosperity 
and  even  the  life  of  the  people  of  the  Valley.  The  only  source  of  supply 
is  through  diversion  canals  of  over  80  miles  in  length  from  the  Colorado 
River.  For  years  the  people  of  the  Valley  have  unaided  been  attempting 
to  solve  the  problem  of  an  adequate  water  supply  during  low  water  peri- 
ods in  summer. 

As  early  as  October  2,  1916,  the  farm  bureau  passed  a  resolution  to 
the  effect  that  the  magnitude  of  the  irrigation  works  and  flood  protec- 


204  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

tion  was  such  that  it  became  imperative  to  enlist  government  assistance, 
and  further  that  the  Secretary  of  the  Interior  and  the  University  of 
California  be  requested  to  make  an  immediate  co-operative  investiga- 
tion and  an  early  report  on  the  quickest  and  most  effective  means  of  se- 
curing these  results  of  providing  the  Valley  with  an  adequate  and  per- 
manent water  supply.  A  committee,  consisting  of  Walter  E.  Packard, 
Phil  Brooks  and  A.  M.  Nelson,  went  to  El  Paso  to  meet  members  of 
the  reclamation  service,  at  their  invitation,  to  confer  on  request  for  co- 
operative investigation  of  the  irrigation  situation.  Director  A.  P.  Davis, 
of  the  reclamation  service,  with  other  reclamation  officials  had  visited 
the  Valley  on  invitation,  had  made  inspections,  met  with  directors  of 
the  irrigation  district,  and  that  now  the  reclamation  service  was  en- 
gaged in  making  preliminary  investigations. 

In  the  latter  part  of  March,  1917,  a  report  was  received  from  the 
board  of  engineers,  consisting  of  Dr.  Elwood  Mead,  D.  C.  Henry  and 
Joseph  Jacobs,  outlining  their  findings,  and  asking  for  recommendations 
of  the  directors  of  the  farm  bureau.  The  recommendations  made  by  the 
farm  bureau  were  as  follows :  First,  abandon  Colorado  River  as  naviga- 
ble stream ;  second,  to  arrange  treaty  with  Mexico  so  as  to  bring  main 
canals  and  protective  works  wholly  within  United  States ;  third,  nation- 
al control  of  works  and  provision  for  a  fair  division  of  cost  of  con- 
struction and  maintenance  of  canals,  protective  works  and  storage 
dams  between  Mexican  and  Imperial  lands,  based  on  area  served ;  fifth, 
government  control  of  flood  protection,  assuming  cost  of  same  on  same 
basis  as  work  included  in  rivers  and  harbors  appropriations;  sixth, 
construction  by  government  of  storage  works  on  basis  of  repayment  of 
cost  by  lands  benefited ;  seventh,  construction  of  high-line  canal  to  ir- 
rigate lands  above  present  area  on  basis  of  repayment  of  costs  by  lands 
benefited;  eighth,  unified  control  of  Colorado  River  and  tributaries  by 
commission  composed  of  Federal  and  state  government  officials  of 
States  through  which  the  Colorado  and  tributaries  flow;  ninth,  the  se- 
curing through  government  action  of  a  water  supply  for  the  main  canal 
from  Laguna  Dam ;  tenth,  the  appropriation  of  $50,000  for  preliminary 
surveys  and  study  of  plans  above  outlined. 

9.  Farm  Loan  Associations.  The  farm  bureau  was  active  in  bringing 
about  the  formation  of  five  farm  loan  associations,  with  more  than  100 
prospective  borrowers.  This  means  cheaper  money  for  the  farmer, 


IMPERIAL  COUNTY  FARM  BUREAU 


205 


probably  five  and  a  half  per  cent.  Over  half  a  million  dollars  has  been 
applied  for  to  be  used  in  buying  stock,  making  various  improvements, 
purchase  of  land,  as  well  as  taking  up  old  mortgages. 

10.  Pima  Cotton  Seed.  In  co-operation  with  Long  Staple  Cotton  Ex- 
change, over  150,000  pounds  of  government  inspected  pima  cotton 
seed,  a  new  variety  of  Egyptian — a  long  staple  cotton  of  superior  qual- 
ity— was  distributed  among  the  farmers  of  the  Valley.  Over  8000  acres 
will  be  planted. 

11.  Better  Silage  Crops.  Seeds  of  several  new  varieties  of  sorghums 
were  brought  in  and  distributed  as  demonstrations  to  the  farmers,  with 
the  result  that  the  amazing  yield  of  over  46  tons  to  the  acre  was  pro- 
duced in  one  instance.  This  was  Honey  Sorghum.  Other  plots  yielded 
36.6  tons,  31  tons,  45  tons,  36.4  tons,  with  an  average  of  39  tons.  This, 
compared  with  former  yields,  considered  satisfactory,  of  from  9  to  15 
tons  of  milo,  Indian  corn,  or  feterita,  is  significant  of  a  greatly  in- 
creased feed  yield,  and  will  result  in  thousands  of  dollars  gain  in  the 
dairy  industry. 

12.  Land  Colonisation.  The  farm  bureau  by  resolution  endorsed 
plans  of  Dr.  Elwood  Mead  having  for  their  purpose  the  purchase  of 
large  tracts  of  lands  in  the  State,  these  lands  to  be  subdivided  under 
State  supervision  and  re-sold  to  settlers  on  long-time  payments. 

13.  Annual  Assembly.  Each  year  an  annual  agricultural  convention 
is  arranged  by  the  farm  bureau,  to  which  are  invited  to  speak  on  the 
program  speakers  from  the  University  of  California,  experiment  sta- 
tions, State  and  county  officials,  and  specialists  in  various  lines  of  agri- 
culture and  commerce.  Three  such  assemblies  have  been  held  during 
the  past  three  years,  at  Brawley,  at  Imperial  and  at  Holtville.  The  event 
is  now  looked  upon  as  a  regular  county  institution. 

14.  Milo  Selection.  A  campaign  for  saving  selected  milo  seed  was 
started,  with  the  result  that  many  tons  of  superior  seed  are  available  for 
this  year's  planting. 

15.  Associations.  As  a  result  of  activities  of  the  farm  bureau,  through 
publicity,  assemblies  and  other  meetings,  several  associations  have  re- 
sulted, notably  The  Milk  Producers'  Association,  Cotton  Men's  Asso- 
ciation, Hog  Growers'  Association,  Bee  Men's  Association,  marketing 
associations,  cow-testing  associations,  and  others  still  in  process  of 
formation. 


206  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

16.  Labor  Bureau.  As  a  result  of  a  canvass  put  through  by  the  farm 
bureau  in  co-operation  with  the  State  and  county  councils  of  defense, 
the  acute  labor  shortage  was  attempted  to  be  relieved  by  the  creation 
by  the  county  board  of  supervisors  of  a  county  labor  bureau. 

17.  Gopher  Control.  With  the  co-operation  of  the  University  of  Cali- 
fornia, a  campaign  to  exterminate  the  destructive  gophers  from  the 
Valley  started.  An  expert  was  sent  here,  who  made  a  two-weeks'  tour  of 
the  Valley,  giving  lectures  to  center  meetings  and  demonstrations  to 
farmers,  and  especially  to  the  officials  of  the  irrigation  companies.  The 
gophers  caused  thousands  of  dollars  worth  of  damage  each  year,  not 
only  to  crops,  but  in  the  way  of  starting  road-flooding  from  irrigation 
ditches. 

18.  Miscellaneous.  Many  minor  activities,  such  as  the  distribution  of 
thousands  of  State,  Federal  and  experiment  station  bulletins  on  every 
branch  of  agriculture,  home  economics,  horticulture,  live-stock  indus- 
tries, etc.  Other  work  is  undertaken,  such  as  the  aiding  of  the  Red 
Cross,  Liberty  loans,  etc.,  through  the  centers. 

HISTORY  IN  BRIEF 

The  Imperial  County  Farm  Bureau  had  its  inception  at  the  first  annual 
agricultural  assembly  at  Brawley,  on  December  18,  1915,  which  was 
called  together  by  W.  E.  Wills,  of  Brawley ;  Walter  E.  Packard,  of  the 
Meloland  experiment  station;  and  A.  M.  Nelson,  of  El  Centro,  all  of 
whom  were  instrumental  in  making  the  first  agricultural  assembly  the 
great  success  it  achieved.  Preliminary  plans  were  laid  at  that  time,  the 
completion  of  which  was  accomplished  at  a  later  meeting  at  the  Bar- 
bara Worth,  El  Centro,  on  March  4,  1916,  where  the  duly  elected  presi- 
dents of  ten  different  farm  centers  met  with  Mr.  Wills,  Mr.  Packard 
and  Mr.  Nelson.  The  centers  and  their  representatives  were  as  follows : 
Verde,  James  N.  Cook;  Mt.  Signal,  Grover  Lofftus ;  Eastside,  S.  E. 
Robinson ;  Meloland,  Phil  Brooks ;  Eucalyptus,  J.  T.  Pitts ;  Seeley, 
Wm.  Moores;  Magnolia,  C.  E.  Phegley;  Westmoreland,  C.  F.  Boarts; 
Mesquite  Lake,  Jake  Lorang ;  South  Fern,  W.  R.  Lienau ;  Heber,  Geo. 
Meyers.  After  plans  were  outlined  by  B.  H.  Crocheron  of  the  Univer- 
sity of  California,  State  leader  of  farm  advisers,  a  temporary  organi- 
zation was  effected,  and  on  March  11,  1916,  the  following  officers  were 
elected : 


IMPERIAL  COUNTY  FARM  BUREAU  207 

Officers:  R.  E.  Wills,  president;  S.  E.  Robinson,  vice-president;  A. 
M.  Nelson,  secretary;  C.  F.  Boarts,  treasurer,  and  later,  R.  E.  Wills 
and  Walter  E.  Packard  were  elected  directors-at-large. 

President.  The  office  of  president  was  held  by  R.  E.  Wills  for  one 
year,  when,  at  the  annual  elections,  Walter  E.  Packard  was  elected, 
holding  office  until  June  25,  when  he  resigned  to  accept  the  position  as 
assistant  State  leader  of  farm  advisers  at  the  University  of  California. 
Mr.  Grover  Lofftus  was  then  elected  president,  and  served  until  he  re- 
signed to  take  up  his  residence  in  Los  Angeles.  At  the  annual  election  in 
February,  Mike  Liebert,  director-at-large,  was  elected  president. 

Vice-president.  This  office  was  held  first  by  S.  E.  Robinson  and  con- 
tinued in  office  for  two  years,  and  was  followed  by  W.  R.  Lienau,  who 
was  elected  at  the  annual  election  in  February,  1918. 

Secretary.  A.  M.  Nelson  was  elected  secretary  and  held  the  office 
until  he  resigned  in  September,  191 7,  to  join  the  Liberty  boys  at  Camp 
Lewis,  and  on  that  date  A.  E.  Madison  was  made  secretary. 

Treasurer.  C.  F.  Boarts  was  elected  treasurer  and  held  office  for  over 
two  years,  and  then,  at  the  annual  meeting  in  February,  1918,  asked 
that  another  treasurer  be  elected,  with  the  result  that  Frank  Vander 
Poel  was  chosen. 

Farm  Adviser.  Paul  I.  Dougherty,  of  the  University  of  California 
and  University  Agricultural  College  at  Berkeley  and  Davis,  was  called 
in  July,  191 5,  and  served  in  that  capacity  with  earnestness,  zeal  and  ef- 
fectiveness until  October,  191 7,  when  he  joined  the  Liberty  boys  at 
Camp  Lewis.  C.  E.  Sullivan,  also  of  the  University  of  California,  was 
appointed,  and  later  J.  P.  Hertel,  of  the  University  of  Wisconsin,  was 
appointed  an  assistant  farm  adviser. 

Home  Demonstration  Agent.  Upon  the  completion  of  the  organiza- 
tion of  the  farm  home  department  in  March,  1918,  a  home  demonstra- 
tor was  sent  down  by  the  University  of  California — Mrs.  Delia  J.  Mor- 
ris, formerly  domestic  science  teacher  in  El  Centro  and  graduate  of 
Ames  College,  Iowa. 

Farm  Home  Department.  Directors  of  the  farm  home  department 
are  as  follows:  Mrs.  Frank  M.  Ballou,  Acacia  center;  Mrs.  A.  H. 
Smithson,  Verde;  Mrs.  W.  H.  Kirby,  Mesquite  Lake;  Mrs.  Walter 
Wilkinson,  Meloland;  Miss  May  Beattie,  Calipatria;  Mrs.  L.  O.  Ban- 
nister, Westmoreland ;  Mrs.  B.  D.  Irvine,  Magnolia ;  Mrs.  Wm.  M. 


208  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

Moores,  Seeley ;  Mrs.  Frank  M.  Moore,  McCabe;  Mrs.  Stuart  Swink, 
Mt.  Signal ;  Mrs.  F.  M.  Wright,  Eastside ;  Miss  Mildred  Boyd,  South 
Fern ;  Miss  Elsie  Angel,  La  Verne. 

Additional  centers  were  added  from  time  to  time,  including  Calipat- 
ria,  with  H.  H.  Clark  as  director;  La  Verne,  H.  F.  Barton,  director; 
Acacia,  J.  M.  Grafton,  director. 


drU^f^u^J  AM^.&r 


CHAPTER  XI 
MEDICAL  HISTORY 

BY  DR.  F.  W.  PETERSON 

The  first  doctors  coming  to  the  Valley  had  no  easy  time  of  it  in  the 
pursuit  of  their  profession.  There  were  often  long  journeys  to  take  out 
over  the  trackless  desert,  and  it  was  necessary  to  make  these  on  horse- 
back, for  few  roads  were  such  that  one  could  pass  over  them  with  a 
buggy.  As  the  ditches  or  canals  were  cut  through  there  were  seldom 
any  bridges  put  across  and  the  traveler  was  compelled  to  ford  the 
streams.  There  were  no  hospitals  or  any  buildings  that  in  any  way 
would  answer  the  purpose  of  these.  There  were  very  few  houses  in  the 
towns  and  none  in  the  country.  What  surgical  work  had  to  be  done  was 
quite  often  done  out  in  the  open. 

A  number  of  amputations  were  performed  with  nothing  but  a  mes- 
quite  tree  to  keep  off  the  sun's  rays.  The  few  settlers  that  were  here 
were  usually  pretty  well  scattered,  necessitating  long  journeys  for  the 
doctor. 

The  summer  heat,  in  those  earlier  years,  was  intense.  There  was  lit- 
tle or  no  verdure  to  break  the  blinding  glare  of  the  sun,  and  it  was  not 
unusual  for  the  thermometer  to  rise  to  128  or  130  degrees  Fahrenheit 
during  the  middle  of  the  day.  But  owing  to  the  dryness  of  the  at- 
mosphere there  were  few  or  no  prostrations.  There  was  comparatively 
little  sickness  in  those  days.  The  most  of  the  men  who  came  into  the 
Valley  were  young  and  able-bodied  and  a  large  percentage  of  them  had 
no  families,  or  if  they  had,  had  left  them  behind,  back  in  civilization, 
so  that  the  proportion  of  women  and  children  in  the  Valley  was  small. 
Brave  souls  there  were  though  who  refused  to  be  left  behind,  who 
wanted  to  have  a  part  in  the  developing  of  the  country  and  refused  to 
be  daunted  by  the  hardships  of  the  desert  life,  and  others  soon  fol- 
lowed, inspired  by  their  example.  Thus  the  Valley  homes  were  estab- 
lished and  the  doctor  became  a  necessity. 

This,  perhaps,  explains  the  fact  that  the  first  doctors,  or  most  of 


2IO  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

them,  did  not  come  with  any  definite  idea  of  establishing  themselves  in 
the  practice  of  medicine.  Dr.  W.  S.  Heffernan,  who  was  probably  the 
first  doctor  to  enter  the  Valley,  came  in  1900,  not  to  practice  medicine, 
but  as  secretary  of  the  then  newly  organized  California  Development 
Company.  Incidentally,  he  looked  after  considerable  work  profession- 
ally and  along  this  line  he  covered  the  greater  part  of  the  Valley  and 
often  made  trips  far  into  Mexico.  At  one  time  he  left  Calexico  at  mid- 
night on  horseback  and  rode  all  night  and  the  greater  part  of  the  morn- 
ing, arriving  at  his  destination  near  Black  Butte  mountains,  at  ten 
o'clock.  He  holds  the  distinction  of  having  officiated  at  the  birth  of  the 
first  white  child  in  the  Valley  in  October,  1900.  Dr.  Heffernan  first  took 
up  his  stay  in  Imperial,  which  consisted  of  a  few  tent  houses  and  a 
number  of  tents.  Later  he  removed  to  Calexico,  where  he  spent  a  num- 
ber of  years,  in  fact  until  the  dissolution  of  the  development  company. 
So  much  of  his  time,  however,  was  spent  in  Los  Angeles  and  elsewhere 
in  the  interest  of  the  company  that  he  could  hardly  be  said  to  have  had 
a  permanent  residence  at  Calexico  at  any  time. 

In  1901,  Dr.  F.  P.  Blake  came  to  Imperial.  It  is  said  that  his  first  of- 
fice was  in  a  tent,  under  a  mesquite  tree.  Later  he  put  up  a  small  wooden 
building,  two  doors  north  of  the  Imperial  Hotel.  This  consisted  of  but 
two  tiny  rooms,  but  they  were  ample  for  his  bachelor  needs.  His  equip- 
ment was  exceedingly  unpretentious,  but  it  was  considered  ample  in 
those  days.  His  practice  covered  the  greater  part  of  the  Valley.  He  was 
for  years  the  only  doctor  there.  He  had  no  horse  or  buggy  and  went 
out  in  the  country  only  as  the  parties  came  in  with  their  own  convey- 
ances and  brought  him  out.  He  was  for  three  years  the  only  doctor  in 
the  Valley  who  devoted  his  whole  time  to  his  practice.  He  left  the  Val- 
ley about  1907,  and  for  a  number  of  years  was  absent  from  his  usual 
haunts,  but  has  now  for  several  years  been  located  in  Calipatria. 

Dr.  Blake  had  been  in  Imperial  a  year  when  Dr.  T.  R.  Griffith,  com- 
ing from  Boston,  drifted  into  the  town.  He  had  come  in  quest  of  health 
and  he  pitched  his  tent  under  another  mesquite  tree,  not  far  distant 
from  the  one  under  which  Dr.  Blake  was  domiciled.  This  for  a  while 
was  practically  the  entire  medical  fraternity  of  the  Valley,  all  lodged 
under  two  Imperial  mesquites.  Dr.  Griffith  stayed  in  Imperial  a  year 
and  then  moved  down  near  what  is  now  known  as  Heber,  on  a  ranch. 
He  took  no  active  part  in  the  management  of  the  ranch  and  did  very 


MEDICAL  HISTORY  21 1 

little  in  the  way  of  practicing  medicine.  After  a  year's  stay  here  he  felt 
sufficiently  recuperated  to  take  up  the  practice  of  his  profession  and, 
moving  to  Celexico,  which  had  begun  to  develop  into  a  small  town,  he 
opened  up  an  office  in  a  small  tent  house  on  Imperial  Avenue.  The  house 
is  still  in  existence,  though  later  moved  over  onto  First  Street.  Pos- 
sessing a  gifted  mind,  Dr.  Griffith,  nevertheless,  had  little  or  no  inclina- 
tion toward  practicing  medicine.  The  varied  assortment  of  anomalous 
characters,  both  Mexican  and  white,  possessed  a  peculiar  fascination 
for  him.  He  was  seldom  at  his  office,  which  bore  all  the  marks  of  neg- 
lect, but  could  be  found  out  mingling  with  people  of  the  place.  Natural- 
ly a  linguist,  he  readily  acquired  a  fair  knowledge  of  the  Spanish,  and 
within  a  year  was  speaking  this  language  fluently,  with  a  studied  Cas- 
tilian  accent. 

Knowing  the  place  as  we  do,  knowing  the  man,  we  cannot  wonder 
at  his  attachment  to  it.  The  first  doctor  of  the  town  with  a  love  for  pio- 
neering, though  not  with  an  adaptability  for  it,  he  found  here  the  breath 
of  pioneering  on  everything  and  everybody.  There  was  the  spirit  to  do 
and  to  dare ;  to  undertake  without  hesitation  the  apparently  impossible. 
There  were  also  the  unsuccessful  ones,  the  derelicts  in  life,  the  down- 
and-outer,  a  motley  assortment  of  humanity  which  had  come  from  all 
parts  of  the  country  to  this  new  land  of  promise  with  the  last  lingering 
hope  that  here  they  might  redeem  themselves.  Some  made  good  and 
others  again  sank  to  still  lower  depths  of  degradation,  poverty  and 
crime. 

But  to  the  doctor  student  of  humanity,  to  the  lover  of  the  strange 
and  anomalous  in  character  and  in  life,  they  formed  a  most  interesting 
group.  There,  too,  were  the  officials  of  the  California  Development 
Company,  their  clerks  and  attendants,  comfortably  housed  in  several 
large  adobe  buildings,  which  lent  to  the  community  a  touch  of  gentility 
that  would  otherwise  be  lacking  and  helped  to  intensify  the  contrasts. 
There,  too,  was  the  life  across  the  line,  a  town  composed  almost  entirely 
of  adobe  buildings  and  practically  wholly  Mexican.  Here  were  stores 
and  drinking  booths.  Here  was  the  gay,  careless  life  of  the  land  of 
mafiana.  Here  of  an  evening  could  be  heard  the  Spanish  guitar,  often 
accompanied  by  a  more  or  less  strident  voice,  sometimes  distinctively 
plaintive,  sounding  clear  and  distinct  through  the  still  night  air.  A  town 
it  was,  more  distinctively  Mexican  than  it  has  ever  been  since.  The 


212  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

Colorado  washed  it  away,  with  only  a  touch  of  the  corruption  which 
later  has  become  the  whole  life  of  the  community. 

Such  was  the  life  of  the  border  when  Dr.  Griffith  came  to  Calexico 
in  1904,  and  such  it  was  when  in  the  fall  of  1905  he  sold  his  few  office 
belongings  to  the  writer  and  left  for  Riverside,  where  he  has  been  in 
active  practice  ever  since. 

There  had  been  some  high  water  in  the  New  River  during  the  sum- 
mer of  1905,  which  had  washed  away  the  approaches  to  the  bridge, 
thus  interrupting  traffic  to  the  country  lying  west  of  town.  A  foot 
bridge  was  constructed  across  the  river,  but  this  was  washed  away 
during  one  of  the  winter  floods,  and  thereafter  all  communication  with 
the  country  west  of  the  town  was  by  boats.  Some  enterprising  white 
fellow  would  build  a  boat  and  charge  a  person  from  fifty  cents  to  a 
dollar  to  ferry  him  across.  Hardly  would  he  have  earned  enough  money 
to  cover  the  cost  of  the  boat  before  some  sudden  rise  in  the  river  dur- 
ing the  night  would  carry  the  boat  down  stream,  and  it  invariably  fell 
into  the  hands  of  some  Cocopah  Indian,  who  dwelt  down  stream  and 
on  the  farther  side.  Thus  the  Indians  soon  came  to  have  a  monopoly  in 
the  ferry  business.  There  were  then  a  rather  large  number  of  them 
who  lived  west  of  the  river.  There  are  still  a  few  living  there,  but  most 
of  them  have  succumbed  to  the  ravages  of  tuberculosis  and  venereal 
diseases.  The  Indians  used  these  boats  to  good  advantage.  If  the  ferry 
business  was  a  little  dull  and  they  were  a  little  short  of  funds  in  their 
community  settlement,  one  of  their  number  would  suddenly  get  sick 
and  another  one  would  come  across  for  the  doctor.  The  trip  across  the 
river  was  always  free  to  the  doctor,  but  the  patient,  of  course,  had  no 
money  to  pay  him,  and  he  was  therefore  under  the  necessity  of  having 
to  pay  for  his  ride  back  to  town.  This  method  of  money  making  had, 
of  course,  its  limitations. 

It  was  the  writer's  good  fortune  to  spend  that  memorable  year  of 
floods  in  the  Valley's  border  town.  The  place  then  suffered  most  from 
the  break.  Many  and  varied,  indeed,  were  the  experiences.  It  was  a  time 
that  tried  men.  Many  a  brave  soul  did  he  see  finally  give  up  in  despair 
and  leave  the  Valley,  never  to  return.  Many  had  put  their  all  in  here 
and  went  out  penniless.  Practicing  medicine  during  those  times  had  its 
trying  experiences.  It  was  difficult  and  at  times  almost  impossible  to  get 
around  over  the  country.  A  saddle  horse  could  cover  all  the  dry  land, 


MEDICAL  HISTORY 


213 


however  rough,  but  he  could  not  cross  the  river.  It  was  necessary  there 
to  resort  to  boats,  and  then  the  difficulty  of  finding  any  conveyance  on 
the  other  side  was  nearly  always  present.  It  was  at  times  necessary  to 
walk  a  number  of  miles.  The  river  was  not  always  safe  to  cross.  There 
were  times  when  the  ferryman  absolutely  refused  to  go  out  into  the 
swift  and  swirling  stream,  and  the  writer  was  compelled  to  take  the 
boat  alone  and  trust  to  his  college  practice  with  the  oars  to  bring  him 
safely  across. 

This  was  a  year  of  confusion  and  of  changes.  People  were  compelled 
to  change  their  plans  to  co-ordinate  with  the  whims  of  the  New  River. 
Part  of  Calexico  was  washed  away  and  practically  all  of  Mexicali  went 
down  the  stream.  It  was  a  period  of  transition,  too,  though  we  knew  it 
not  at  the  time,  for  the  new  towns  that  sprang  up  on  both  sides  of  the 
line  were  different.  The  old  towns  as  well  as  the  old  life  were  things  of 
the  past. 

In  Brawley,  for  years  after  the  establishment  of  the  town,  the  only 
doctor  was  Dr.  J.  A.  Miller.  He  was,  perhaps,  more  of  a  preacher  than 
a  doctor,  and  thus  ministered  both  to  the  religious  and  medical  wants 
of  the  new-born  community.  He  claimed  to  hold  a  medical  diploma 
from  a  Canadian  school,  though  he  never  secured  a  California  license. 
He  was  in  many  ways  a  rather  whimsical  fellow.  On  one  occasion  he 
appeared  at  Imperial  to  attend  some  Methodist  conference,  his  tall, 
lank  figure  crowned  with  a  high  silk  hat — the  only  silk  hat,  as  far  as 
known,  that  has  ever  had  the  hardihood  to  venture  into  Imperial 
Valley. 

On  another  occasion  during  the  flood,  when  a  cable  had  been  ex- 
tended across  the  river  and  a  carriage  run  back  and  forth  on  this  some 
thirty  feet  above  the  water,  he  was  asked  to  cross  in  it  to  see  some  sick 
person  on  the  other  side.  He  entered  the  carriage  with  some  hesitation 
and  remarked  that  he  doubted  whether  it  would  hold  him.  He  was  as- 
sured that  it  had  carried  a  horse  across.  "That  is  no  guarantee  that  it 
will  hold  me,"  he  replied,  and  intimated  that  his  fee  ought  to  be  one 
commensurate  with  the  apprehension  he  experienced  in  riding  in  the 
carriage. 

As  Brawley  grew  in  size  and  as  the  area  of  settlements  increased 
about  it,  the  Imperial  doctors  were  called  in  more  and  more  to  look 
after  the  sick  of  that  section,  for  it  was  not  until  1907  that  a  regularity 


214  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

licensed  physician  came  to  Brawley.  Dr.  A.  P.  Cook  was  the  first  doctor 
to  locate  in  Brawley.  He  remained  there  for  three  years  until  his  death 
in  1910. 

Dr.  F.  J.  Bold  had  come  to  Imperial  in  the  summer  of  1904,  and  had 
put  up  what  for  that  time  was  considered  a  rather  pretentious  resi- 
dence and  office  on  Imperial  Avenue,  adjoining  Dr.  Blake's.  Unlike  the 
other  doctors  then  in  the  Valley,  he  was  young  and  healthy  and  carried 
with  him  an  abundance  of  enthusiasm.  It  was  not  long  before  his  prac- 
tice extended  to  every  part  of  the  Valley.  He  had  two  or  three  saddle 
horses  and  changed  mounts  whenever  the  one  he  had  been  riding  was 
tired.  He  could  pick  his  way  through  the  desert  at  all  hours  of  the 
night,  and  there  were  in  those  days  long  stretches  of  desert  between  the 
various  settlers.  He  had  the  happy  faculty  when  through  with  a  case 
and  started  on  his  way  home  to  doze  off  in  the  saddle  and  leave  it  to  the 
horse  to  get  him  home.  On  one  occasion  he  went  to  sleep  on  his  way 
out  and  awoke  at  4  o'clock  in  the  morning  in  some  rancher's  back  yard, 
and  for  the  life  of  him  could  not  tell  where  he  was.  He  was  compelled 
to  wake  up  the  people  to  inquire  his  way.  Like  Dr.  Griffith,  he  enjoyed 
pioneering,  but  unlike  him  he  enjoyed  it  because  of  the  unique  experi- 
ences it  gave  him  and  not  because  of  the  strange  characters  it  brought 
him  in  contact  with.  He  enjoyed  a  varied  and  extensive  practice  and 
did  considerable  surgery  too.  Indeed  it  is  surprising  how  much  he  ac- 
complished along  surgical  lines  considering  his  limited  facilities  and 
the  complete  absence  of  hospitals  or  anything  that  at  all  approached 
them  in  accommodations,  and  all  with  uniform  success.  He  considered 
the  Valley  the  garden  spot  of  the  earth  and  declared  it  his  intention  to 
make  this  his  permanent  home.  The  tragic  death  of  his  sister,  who  had 
been  his  constant  companion  and  invaluable  assistant,  together  with 
other  troubles,  dampened  his  ardor,  and  he  sold  his  home  and  practice; 
to  Dr.  G.  M.  Bumgarner  in  the  summer  of  1906  and  went  to  Whittier 
where  he  has  been  located  ever  since. 

During  his  two  years  stay  in  the  Valley  he  was  constantly  striving  to 
give  to  the  practice  of  medicine  that  dignity  and  importance  to  which 
it  was  justly  entitled,  and  which  it  could  hardly  be  said  to  have  pos- 
sessed hitherto.  His  efforts  were  tireless  to  eliminate  the  quack  and  the 
charlatan  and  the  unlicensed  practitioner,  of  whom  a  number  were 
finding  their  way  into  the  Valley  at  that  time. 


MEDICAL  HISTORY 


215 


Holtville  was  established  in  1903,  and  at  its  very  beginning  Dr.  Green- 
leaf  located  there.  He  had  enjoyed  a  lucrative  practice  in  Chicago  and 
later  at  Redlands,  but  his  health  had  failed  him  at  both  places,  and  he 
came  to  Holtville  hoping  the  desert  air  would  give  him  renewed 
strength.  He  was  the  only  doctor  east  of  the  Alamo  for  a  number  of 
years.  He  was  never  able,  however,  to  give  proper  attention  to  his  prac- 
tice on  account  of  his  health,  and  in  1908  Dr.  Brooks  took  up  the  prac- 
tice of  medicine  there,  having  his  office  in  the  Alamo  Hotel.  It  was  not 
long  after  this  that  Dr.  Greenleaf  died.  By  his  death  the  Valley  lost 
the  last  of  its  pioneer  doctors — for  pioneering,  at  least  as  far  as  the 
practice  of  medicine  was  concerned,  could  hardly  be  said  to  extend  be- 
yond the  closing  of  the  Colorado  River  break,  in  the  summer  of  1906. 
After  this  a  new  era  of  prosperity  opened  for  the  Valley.  A  rapid  in- 
flux of  settlers  to  the  Valley,  the  organization  of  the  county,  the  estab- 
lishment of  roads  and  bridges  were  rapid  steps  in  the  phenomenal  de- 
velopment of  the  country.  With  the  growth  in  the  number  of  settlers 
there  was  a  corresponding  increase  in  the  number  of  doctors.  In  1906 
there  were  only  four  doctors  in  the  Valley,  only  two  of  whom  were 
really  in  active  practice.  Two  years  later  there  were  eleven.  Four  years 
later  that  number  was  doubled.  At  the  present  time  there  are  in  the 
neighborhood  of  forty,  with  at  least  thirty-three  in  active  practice. 

The  first  hospital  in  the  Valley  was  a  small  one  in  Imperial,  estab- 
lished by  Dr.  E.  E.  Patten  in  1907,  soon  after  he  came  to  the  Valley. 
It  was  simply  a  small  rooming  house  converted  into  a  hospital.  Dr.  Pat- 
ten was  at  that  time  county  health  officer  and  he  found  it  necessary  to 
have  some  establishment  in  which  to  house  his  county  patients,  as  well 
as  the  more  serious  of  his  private  ones.  The  place  was  well  filled  most 
of  the  time  and  remarkably  well  managed  considering  the  limited  facili- 
ties. A  poorly  managed  gasoline  stove,  however,  made  a  rapid  end  of 
the  doctor's  hospital.  Brief  though  its  existence  had  been  it  served  to 
show  the  imperative  need  for  the  Valley  of  something  along  that  line, 
and  in  the  spring  of  1908,  Dr.  Virgil  McCombs  began  the  construction 
of  a  hospital  in  El  Centro.  A  one-story  structure  was  completed  that 
spring.  By  the  following  spring,  however,  it  had  proved  its  entire  in- 
adequacy to  meet  the  growing  demands,  and  the  doctor  began  the  erec- 
tion of  an  additional  story,  which  was  completed  by  the  fall  of  that 
year.  Soon  after  the  destruction  of  the  Imperial  hospital,  Dr.  Patten 


216  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

established  another  hospital  in  the  southern  part  of  the  town  and  put 
it  under  the  management  of  Miss  Haymer.  This  hospital  flourished  for 
several  years,  but  proved  in  the  end  an  unprofitable  venture.  It  was 
therefore  closed  and  the  equipment  sold  to  the  El  Centro  hospital. 

In  March,  191 1,  Dr.  McCombs  sold  his  hospital  in  El  Centro  to  the 
Sisters  of  Mercy  of  San  Diego.  They  continued  the  management  of  it 
under  the  name  of  St.  Thomas  Hotel  until  March,  1918,  when  they 
transferred  it  to  Mr.  H.  G.  Thomas.  It  has,  on  account  of  its  central 
location  and  larger  size,  remained  during  its  entire  existence  the  lead- 
ing hospital  of  the  Valley.  At  Calexico  the  Jordan  Hospital  was  estab- 
lished in  1912.  It  has  remained  constantly  under  the  management  of 
Mrs.  Jordan.  While  not  a  large  building,  it  is  pleasantly  situated  and 
fairly  commodious. 

At  Brawley  the  Sisters  of  Mercy  established  a  small  hospital  in 
1910,  but  soon  after  they  took  over  the  management  of  the  El  Centro 
Hospital  they  discontinued  it,  finding  it  impossible  to  keep  up  both. 
There  is,  however,  and  has  been  for  some  years,  a  small  and  well- 
managed  hospital  at  this  place,  as  also  at  Imperial.  At  Holtville,  Dr. 
D.  A.  Stevens  has  been  maintaining  a  small  hospital  for  several  years. 

There  was  no  attempt  made  in  the  first  years  of  the  Valley's  history 
on  the  part  of  the  doctors  to  get  together.  There  were  not  enough  doc- 
tors to  form  any  organization,  but  in  the  latter  part  of  1908  a  county 
society  was  formed,  comprising  the  following  doctors :  Dr.  A.  P.  Cook 
of  Brawley,  Dr.  E.  E.  Patten  and  Dr.  Geo.  Bumgarner  of  Imperial, 
Dr.  Brooks  of  Holtville,  Dr.  Henry  Richter  of  Calexico,  and  Drs.  Vir- 
gil McCombs  and  F.  W.  Peterson  of  El  Centro.  Dr.  Patten  was  chosen 
president  and  Dr.  Peterson  secretary  of  the  newly  formed  society.  A 
number  of  pleasant  and  profitable  meetings  were  held  at  the  hospital  at 
El  Centro  during  the  year.  The  following  year  the  organization  still 
seemed  to  have  sufficient  life  to  justify  an  election  of  new  officers,  and 
Dr.  McCombs  was  chosen  president  and  Dr.  Richter  secretary.  The 
society,  however,  was  more  nearly  moribund  at  the  time  than  was  sup- 
posed. It  never  rallied  sufficiently  for  another  meeting. 

For  the  next  six  or  seven  years  no  effort  was  made  to  reorganize  the 
county  society.  But  an  attempt  was  made  by  Dr.  J.  C.  King  of  Banning, 
in  1914,  to  incorporate  the  Imperial  county  doctors  in  the  Riverside 
County  Medical  Society.  The  plan  was  partly  successful.  A  number  of 


MEDICAL  HISTORY 


217 


the  Valley  doctors  joined.  By  1916  this  number  had  been  reduced  to 
three,  and  Dr.  King  then  conceived  the  plan  of  organizing  an  Imperial 
County  medical  society.  It  was  largely  through  Dr.  King's  untiring  ef- 
forts that  the  organization  became  a  reality  and  the  society  emerged 
full  fledged  and  with  unbounded  enthusiasm  in  April,  1916.  Dr.  L.  R. 
Moore  of  Imperial  was  chosen  president  and  Dr.  L.  C.  House  of  El 
Centro  secretary.  It  had  at  the  time  of  its  organization  a  membership 
of  fifteen,  comprising  doctors  from  every  town  in  the  Valley.  During 
its  first  year  a  number  of  lively  and  profitable  meetings  were  held. 

In  April,  1917,  election  of  officers  was  again  in  order,  and  Dr.  Eugene 
Le  Baron  of  Brawley  was  chosen  president,  with  Dr.  F.  A.  Burger  of 
El  Centro  as  vice-president.  Dr.  L.  C.  House  was  re-elected  secretary. 
It  is  said  that  the  second  year  of  an  organization  is  always  the  most 
trying.  If  it  weathers  the  storm  during  this  period  its  chances  for  a 
long  lease  of  life  are  good.  The  history  of  the  second  Imperial  County 
medical  society  has  proven  no  exception  to  this  rule.  With  the  opening 
of  the  second  year  the  enthusiasm  that  had  characterized  it  during  the 
first  year  began  to  wane.  Though  the  year  is  practically  at  a  close  there 
have  been  no  meetings  of  the  organization ;  no  getting  together  of  the 
members  which  is  so  essential  to  mutual  stimulation  and  inspiration. 
There  is  evident  need  at  present  of  some  regenerating  influence,  some 
invigorating  leaven  thrown  into  it  to  vitalize  it  for  its  third  year's  ac- 
tivities. 

The  climate  of  the  Valley  has,  in  general,  been  decidedly  healthful. 
In  the  earlier  days  it  was  peculiarly  so  for  tuberculosis  patients.  Many 
who  came  here  with  the  disease  in  an  advanced  stage  recovered  com- 
pletely. Of  late  years  the  climate  could  hardly  be  said  to  be  favorable 
for  this  class  of  patients.  The  increased  humidity  which  is  an  inevitable 
result  of  the  increased  cultivation  and  irrigation  renders  the  summer 
heat  much  more  unbearable.  This  increased  humidity  also  gives  rise  to 
a  larger  proportion  of  heat  prostrations.  There  were  few,  if  any,  of 
these  before  1905.  Of  other  pulmonary  diseases  there  were  at  first 
scarcely  any,  but  these  have  all  been  steadily  on  the  increase.  Especial- 
ly is  this  true  of  pneumonia.  From  being  almost  unheard  of  in  the 
pioneer  days  it  has  come  to  be  quite  prevalent  during  the  winter  and 
spring  months,  and  carrying  with  a  rather  high  mortality  even  for  that 
disease. 


2i8  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

Scarlet  fever  and  measles  were  almost  unknown  before  1906.  Since 
then  there  have  been  scattered  cases  of  the  former  practically  every 
year  and  a  number  of  epidemics  of  the  latter.  There  had  been  no  cases 
of  measles  in  the  southern  part  of  the  Valley  for  three  years  or  more 
when  the  constable  at  Calexico,  in  the  latter  part  of  1906,  in  taking 
some  prisoners  out  to  San  Diego,  was  exposed  to  the  disease.  He  was 
not  aware,  however,  that  he  had  come  in  contact  with  it,  so  when  a 
week  or  two  later  he  became  sick,  with  many  of  the  symptoms  of  the 
grippe,  he  decided  that  he  was  in  for  a  siege  of  influenza.  His  friends 
came  to  see  him  and  sympathize  with  him  in  his  distress.  The  sym- 
pathizing was  continued  into  the  next  two  or  three  months  and  several 
hundred  took  part.  A  fairly  general  immunity  was  thus  established  and 
no  further  epidemic  occurred  for  the  next  two  or  three  years.  Much 
complaint  was  heard  in  earlier  years  about  the  low  altitude  and  conse- 
quent heart  trouble.  Personally  this  is  largely,  if  not  entirely,  imagina- 
tion on  the  part  of  the  individual  affected,  for  there  have  been  a  num- 
ber of  cases  of  people  who  found  it  impossible  to  live  at  Calexico, 
which  is  about  sea  level,  on  account  of  the  low  altitude,  who  found, 
nevertheless,  that  their  hearts  worked  in  perfect  shape  at  sea  level  on 
the  coast. 

Typhoid  fever  has  been  in  evidence  in  the  Valley  since  the  first  set- 
tlers arrived.  This  is,  undoubtedly,  due  almost  wholly  to  the  unsanitary 
condition  that  prevails  almost  constantly  along  the  ditches  across  the 
line.  The  water  is  in  most  cases  already  polluted  before  it  crosses  the 
line  into  American  territory.  This,  of  course,  is  something  over  which 
the  health  authorities  of  the  county  have  no  control.  They  may  guard 
ever  so  zealously  the  water  supply  within  our  own  borders,  but  if  in- 
discriminate pollution  is  permitted  to  go  on  unchecked  south  of  the 
line,  the  danger  will  ever  be  with  us. 

This  should  be  one  of  the  strongest  reasons  for  eliminating  at  the 
earliest  possible  moment  the  necessity  for  securing  our  water  supply 
from  foreign  soil,  for  the  health  of  a  community  should  be  of  para- 
mount solicitude.  Happily  this  defect  in  our  water  supply  now  bids  fair 
to  be  remedied  at  a  no  distant  date. 


&&i&U^-f 


CHAPTER  XII 

JOURNALISM 

Press,  Standard  and  Zanjero. — The  need  for  publicity  was  felt  at 
the  very  beginning  of  the  development  of  Imperial  Valley.  L.  M.  Holt, 
who  in  pioneer  days,  as  publisher  and  editor  of  the  Riverside  Press, 
had  forty  years  ago  gained  State-wide  recognition  as  the  chief  news- 
paper authority  on  the  irrigation  and  horticultural  resources  of  South- 
ern California,  was  publicity  agent  for  the  Imperial  Land  Company  and 
the  California  Development  Company.  It  was  he  who  had  interested 
George  Chaffey,  the  builder  of  the  irrigation  system,  in  the  Valley,  and 
Mr.  Holt  was  also  instrumental  in  interesting  Edgar  F.  Howe,  who  had 
come  to  Southern  California  in  1884,  and  had  witnessed  from  a  news- 
paperman's viewpoint  the  development  of  practically  all  Southern  Cali- 
fornia from  semi-desert. 

As  the  years  had  piled  up  on  Mr.  Holt  and  he  had  become  less  active 
in  newspaper  work,  the  especial  field  he  had  held  in  the  newspaper  field 
had  in  large  part  passed  to  Mr.  Howe.  In  1890  he  had  founded  the 
Redlands  Facts,  the  first  daily  newspaper  in  that  town,  and  thence  he 
had  gone  to  Los  Angeles,  where  he  had  gained  recognition  as  the  prin- 
cipal writer  on  irrigation,  horticulture  and  the  oil  industry.  He  was  in 
1900  the  industrial  editor  of  the  Los  Angeles  Herald  when,  in  October, 
Mr.  Holt  induced  him  to  inspect  the  first  work  on  the  great  irrigation 
system,  less  than  a  half  mile  of  canal  then  having  been  dug. 

From  the  site  of  the  proposed  heading  on  the  Colorado  River  Mr. 
Howe  came  to  the  Valley,  being  driven  by  George  McCauley,  as  about 
the  first  passenger  of  that  pioneer  stage  driver,  from  the  main  line  of 
the  railroad  to  Blue  Lake,  near  the  projected  town  of  Silsbee,  and  back. 
On  that  drive  of  ninety  miles,  which  led  over  the  town-sites  of  Braw- 
ley,  Imperial  and  El  Centro,  only  two  persons  were  seen,  Engineer  D. 
L.  Russell  and  an  assistant,  who  were  making  the  first  survey. 

Because  of  his  experience  in  watching  the  developments  of  other 
parts  of  Southern  California,  Mr.  Howe  believed  he  could  see  in  this 


220  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

development  work  a  movement  of  vast  potential  benefit  to  the  country, 
and  articles  from  his  pen  following  the  visit  to  the  Valley  were  pub- 
lished with  illustrations  in  the  New  York  Tribune,  New  York  Times, 
Scientific  American,  Philadelphia  Press  and  other  leading  publications 
of  the  East,  as  well  as  in  the  Los  Angeles  Herald,  undoubtedly  giving  to 
the  Valley  colonization  its  first  great  impetus. 

So  beneficial  had  his  work  proven  that  the  Imperial  Land  Company 
was  anxious  that  he  should  become  identified  with  the  development 
work.  The  following  May  the  Imperial  Valley  Press  was  founded  at 
Imperial  by  the  Imperial  Land  Company  with  H.  C.  Reed  as  editor,  but 
in  October,  1901,  one  year  from  his  former  trip,  Mr.  Howe  assumed 
the  editorship. 

Those  pioneer  newspaper  days  were  trying  ones  because  there  was 
little  to  do  and  there  were  none  of  the  conveniences  of  life.  The  stage 
came  to  town  three  times  a  week,  and  a  census  showed  population  of 
158  persons  in  what  is  now  Imperial  County  in  the  spring  of  1902.  The 
following  summer,  without  ice,  electricity,  fresh  meat,  vegetables,  eggs, 
milk  or  butter,  life  was  barely  worth  living,  but  it  was  under  these  con- 
ditions that  the  foundations  were  laid  for  the  newspaper  as  well  as  all 
the  other  institutions  of  the  Valley. 

After  a  year  of  this  privation,  Mr.  Howe  thought  he  had  had  enough 
of  pioneer  life,  and  he  left  the  Valley,  but  by  April  of  the  next  year — 
1903 — he  was  induced  to  return,  this  time  as  owner  of  the  newspaper, 
which  he  purchased  and  published  for  a  little  more  than  a  year,  selling 
to  Charles  Gardner. 

The  new  town  of  El  Centro  had  been  founded  in  1905,  and  early  in 
that  year  Mr.  Gardner  sold  the  Press  to  W.  F.  Holt,  who  moved  it  to  El 
Centro,  where  it  passed  successively  under  the  editorial  management  of 
F.  G.  Havens  and  D.  D.  Pellett. 

Before  leaving  Imperial  the  Press  had  a  competitor  in  the  Imperial 
Standard,  started  by  a  stock  company  with  H.  C.  Reed  and  later  David 
De  Witt  Lawrence  as  editors. 

This  publication  was  bought  in  June,  1905,  by  Mr.  Howe,  who  came 
to  the  Valley  for  the  third  time,  accompanied  by  his  two  sons,  Armiger 
W.  and  Clinton  F.,  who  were  associated  with  him  during  the  second 
stage  of  pioneer  newspaper  work,  that  of  publishing  the  first  daily  news- 
paper. This  publication  was  started  while  the  Colorado  River  was  pour- 


JOURNALISM  221 

ing  its  whole  volume  into  Salton  Sea,  and  Mr.  Howe  says  that  to  this 
day  he  has  never  been  able  to  decide  whether  the  venture  was  a  matter 
of  inspiration  or  of  imbecility. 

Then  came  the  struggle  over  county  division,  Mr.  Howe  being  the 
spokesman  for  Imperial.  Mr.  Holt  sought  a  strong  editorial  force  for 
the  Imperial  Valley  Press  as  an  offset  to  him,  and  interested  Captain 
Allen  Kelley,  Louis  Havermale  and  W.  L.  Hayden  in  that  paper.  Cap- 
tain Kelly  had  been  city  editor  of  the  New  York  Evening  Sun  and  of 
the  Los  Angeles  Times,  and  editorial  writer  for  the  Philadelphia  North 
American,  Boston  Globe  and  San  Francisco  Examiner.  Mr.  Havermale 
was  one  of  the  best  detail  reporters  in  Los  Angeles  and  Mr.  Hayden 
was  a  clever  business  manager.  It  was  a  strong  aggregation,  but  it  was 
an  overload  for  the  weekly  to  carry,  and  after  the  bitterness  of  the 
county  seat  election  had  passed,  Messrs.  Howe,  in  May,  191 1,  bought  the 
Press  from  W.  F.  Holt  and  consolidated  with  it  the  Imperial  Daily 
Standard,  continuing  the  paper  as  a  daily  under  the  name  of  the  Im- 
perial Valley  Press  until  September,  1916. 

Messrs.  Howe  had  had  the  experience  in  Imperial  of  many  pioneers 
in  the  newspaper  business  of  a  hard  struggle  with  little  recompense. 
When  they  purchased  the  Press  they  added  considerably  to  their  in- 
debtedness. Their  business  in  El  Centro  grew  with  great  rapidity,  for- 
cing heavy  purchases  of  equipment,  with  added  obligations.  The  earth- 
quake of  June,  191 5,  wrecked  their  plant  and  brought  about  a  loss  of 
business  which  proved  fatal  to  their  enterprise,  and  they  lost  the  news- 
paper in  September,  1916. 

But  400  farmers  in  mass  meeting  called  on  Mr.  Howe  to  re-enter  the 
field,  pledging  their  support,  and  many  of  them  volunteered  financial 
aid,  with  the  result  that  within  thirty  days  there  was  issued  the  first 
number  of  The  Zanjero,  a  weekly  paper,  but  with  the  intention,  avowed 
from  the  first,  of  eventually  issuing  daily. 

The  Calexico  Chronicle  was  founded  August  12,  1904.  It's  first  home 
was  in  a  tent  house  at  a  point  near  the  Southern  Pacific  depot.  The  early 
days  of  the  paper  were  the  usual  early  days  of  a  pioneer  newspaper — 
much  work  and  little  remuneration  for  its  owner.  For  several  years  it 
had  a  number  of  owners,  and  for  a  while  essayed  to  be  a  daily  paper, 
even  when  Calexico  was  only  a  town  of  something  like  500  people. 

During  those  early  days  of  daily  newspapering  it  was  the  frequent 


222  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

boast  of  its  publisher  that  it  was  the  only  daily  newspaper  in  the  world 
in  a  town  with  so  few  people  in  it,  which  was  about  all  there  was  to 
boast  about. 

In  July,  1912,  the  Chronicle  became  the  property  of  the  present  own- 
er, Bert  Perrin,  who,  early  the  next  year,  took  Ray  E.  Oliver  as  a  part- 
ner, which  partnership  continued  until  November,  1917,  when  Bert 
Perrin  again  became  the  sole  owner. 

Beginning  in  1913  the  great  struggle  of  the  Chronicle  has  been  to  keep 
pace  with  the  rapid  growth  of  the  town.  In  1914  the  Chronicle  once 
more  began  publication  as  a  daily,  with  Associated  Press  news  service. 

The  El  Centro  Progress  was  established  in  its  present  location  on 
Main  Street,  El  Centro,  February  3,  1912.  First  a  weekly.  In  October  of 
the  same  year  it  was  changed  to  a  morning  daily,  and  as  such  made  its 
way  swiftly  to  the  present  place  it  occupies.  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Otis  B.  Tout 
were  first  engaged  in  publishing  the  Calexico  Chronicle,  Mr.  Tout  hav- 
ing taken  charge  of  that  newspaper  in  1907.  They  sold  the  business  in 
1912  to  Bert  Perrin  and  purchased  the  remains  of  the  Daily  Free  Lance 
plant  in  EI  Centro,  on  which  the  present  business  was  founded. 

The  Free  Lance  was  established  in  1908  by  A.  D.  Medhurst.  It  ran  a 
precarious  existence  for  three  years  and  was  finally  discontinued  on 
account  of  financial  difficulties. 

Mr.  and  Mrs.  Tout,  both  practical  printers,  have  had  the  assistance 
of  Mrs.  Tout's  brothers,  both  in  the  mechanical  department  and  the 
management.  O.  W.  Berneker  is  advertising  manager,  W.  A.  Berneker 
is  foreman  of  the  composing  room,  E.  A.  Berneker  is  Intertype  ma- 
chinist-operator, and  A.  E.  Berneker  is  in  the  mailing  and  stereotyping 
department.  This  "family  affair"  has  become  quite  successful  as  shown 
by  the  patronage  accorded  the  Progress  since  its  establishment.  The 
records  show  a  steady  increase  in  every  year's  business,  1917  outdis- 
tancing all  the  others  by  a  wide  margin.  The  business  is  a  co-partner- 
ship with  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Tout  sole  owners. 

The  policy  of  the  Progress  has  been  independent,  the  editor  believing 
that  the  selection  of  the  best  in  all  matters  is  better  than  blind  partisan- 
ship in  any.  That  this  policy  has  been  approved  by  a  large  constituency 
is  attested  by  the  fact  that  the  Progress  lays  undisputed  claim  to  the 
largest  circulation  of  any  newspaper  in  the  county.  The  paper  makes  it 
a  point  to  boost  every  worthy  cause  and  to  flay  every  unworthy  propo- 


JOURNALISM 


223 


ganda  that  raises  its  head.  Imperial  Valley  has  had  seven  special,  illus- 
trated editions  during  the  twelve  years'  work  of  the  publishers  of  the 
Progress,  and  much  of  the  broadcast  information  that  the  world  has 
regarding  Imperial  Valley  can  be  credited  to  these  efforts. 

The  Progress  is  the  only  morning  newspaper  in  the  Valley,  and  is  a 
member  of  the  Associated  Press. 


CHAPTER  XIII 
TRANSPORTATION 

SOUTHERN  PACIFIC  LINES 

The  main  line  of  the  Los  Angeles  division  of  the  Southern  Pacific 
from  just  north  of  Bertram  to  the  Colorado  River  at  Yuma,  for  a  dis- 
tance of  about  ninety  miles,  was  first  operated  in  the  spring  of  1877. 

From  the  present  station  of  Niland  (originally  known  as  Old  Beach 
and  then  later  called  Imperial  Junction),  a  branch  line  runs  south  to 
Calexico  on  the  international  boundary  line  for  a  distance  of  41  miles, 
first  operated  to  Imperial  in  the  spring  of  1903,  and  thence  to  Calexico 
in  the  summer  of  1904. 

The  above  branch  line  thence  continues  easterly  through  the  north- 
ern portion  of  Lower  California  and  returns  to  Imperial  County  at 
Cantu,  thence  northerly  for  a  distance  of  2.6  miles  to  a  connection  with 
the  first  above-mentioned  main  line  at  Araz  Junction. 

From  El  Centro  a  branch  line  runs  west  to  New  River  at  Seeley  for 
a  distance  of  8.3  miles  to  a  connection  with  the  San  Diego  and  Arizona 
Railway. 

From  Calipatria  a  branch  line  runs  west  and  thence  south  for  a  dis- 
tance of  12.6  miles  to  Westmorland,  first  operated  June,  1917. 

From  Colorado,  a  station  on  the  main  line,  across  the  Colorado  River 
from  Yuma,  a  branch  line  runs  northeasterly,  generally  following  said 
river,  for  a  distance  of  12.2  miles  to  Potholes,  at  the  site  of  the  govern- 
ment's Laguna  Dam,  first  operated  April,  1908. 

From  a  connection  with  the  Southern  Pacific  Company's  branch  line 
at  Seeley  the  San  Diego  and  Arizona  Railway  Company's  main  line  ex- 
tends westerly  for  a  distance  of  27  miles  to  a  point  on  Imperial  County 
boundary  line  about  a  mile  west  of  Silica. 

From  a  connection  with  the  Southern  Pacific  Company's  branch  line 
at  El  Centro  the  Holton  Interurban  Railway  Company's  electric  line 
extends  easterly  for  a  distance  of  about  11  miles  to  Holtville. 


TRANSPORTATION  225 

SAN  DIEGO  AND  ARIZONA  RAILWAY 

The  San  Diego  and  Arizona  Railway  Company  was  incorporated  De- 
cember 15,  1906,  for  the  purpose  of  constructing  a  transcontinental 
railroad  from  San  Diego,  California,  eastward  through  Imperial  Valley, 
the  intention  being  to  connect  with  the  Southern  Pacific  system  at  New 
River,  a  distance  of  about  one  hundred  forty  miles. 

On  account  of  numerous  difficulties  encountered,  which  were  unfore- 
seen and  unavoidable,  the  construction  work  has  been  slow.  However, 
the  work  is  now  progressing  at  a  rate  which  indicates  that  within  the 
near  future  Imperial  Valley  will  be  connected  by  a  short-line  haul  with 
another  deep-water  port,  and  which  will  naturally  open  up  additional 
markets. 

In  carrying  out  the  purpose  for  which  the  company  was  incorpor- 
ated, the  railroad  was  planned  and  is  being  constructed  for  transconti- 
nental business.  The  roadbed  and  structures  are  built  for  heavy  traffic, 
and  the  curves  and  grades  are  the  lightest  possible  through  the  moun- 
tainous country  traversed,  the  summit  (3650  feet  elevation)  being 
reached  from  San  Diego  with  a  maximum  grade  of  1.4  per  cent.  Termi- 
nal facilities  have  been  provided  on  the  same  basis,  the  company  own- 
ing over  sixty  acres  in  the  San  Diego  shop  site,  50  acres  in  freight  yards 
and  terminals,  and  have  secured  the  right  from  State  and  city  to  sixty 
acres  on  the  bay  front  for  wharves;  three  hundred  and  twenty  acres 
were  secured  for  helper  station,  shops,  etc.,  in  Imperial  Valley,  near 
the  "west  side  main  canal." 

In  addition  to  the  advantages  offered  for  transportation  of  freight 
the  line  will  prove  attractive  to  the  tourist.  The  scenery  over  the  moun- 
tains and  through  the  Carriso  Canon  is  varied  and  attractive.  Entering 
Mexico  through  a  tunnel  just  west  of  Campo,  the  line  runs  for  forty- 
four  miles  through  a  foreign  country  ever  interesting  to  the  tourist, 
crossing  into  the  United  States  again  at  Tijuana,  which  place  is  visited 
annually  by  thousands  of  tourists.  The  longest  tunnel  on  the  line — 2600 
feet — is  encountered  in  the  Carriso  Canon. 

The  company  has  recently  purchased  the  San  Diego  and  South  East- 
ern Railroad,  with  some  85  miles  of  roadway,  traversing  the  rich  farm- 
ing valleys  surrounding  San  Diego,  which  will  be  a  feeder  for  the  trans- 
continental line. 


22(5  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

HOLTON  INTER-URBAN  RAILWAY  COMPANY 

The  Holton  Inter-Urban  Railway  Company  was  incorporated,  along 
with  the  other  utilities  of  the  Valley,  by  W.  F.  Holt  in  December,  1903, 
with  a  capital  stock  of  $200,000.00.  The  road  connects  El  Centro  with 
Holtville  (a  distance  of  about  eleven  miles)  and  is  of  standard  gauge 
construction.  The  company  carries  both  freight  and  passenger  traffic 
and  has  recently  put  in  service  gas  motor  cars  for  carrying  passengers, 
which  have  a  special  wheel  attachment  (the  invention  of  W.  F.  Holt) 
permitting  the  cars  to  run  either  on  the  railroad  track  or  on  the  public 
streets  and  highways.  This  innovation  in  railroad  service  is  not  only  a 
novelty,  but  is  a  practical  convenience  to  the  public,  which  is  showing 
its  appreciation  by  very  liberal  patronage.  The  invention  has  created 
wide-spread  interest  throughout  the  country,  and  this  method  of  trans- 
portation will  no  doubt  be  extended  to  the  large  railroad  systems,  par- 
ticularly in  connection  with  inter-urban  traffic.  The  general  offices  of 
the  Holton  Inter-Urban  Railway  Company  are  also  located  at  River- 
side, under  the  same  management  as  the  other  companies. 


CHAPTER  XIV 

BANKING 

First  National  Bank  of  Imperial  was  organized  in  1901  with  a  cap- 
ital stock  of  $25,000  by  LeRoy  Holt,  W.  F.  Holt,  George  Chaffey  and 
A.  H.  Heber.  The  bank  was  then  located  where  the  Imperial  Valley 
Hardware  store  is  now  located.  Holt  Brothers  operated  a  store  in  the 
building  at  that  time.  The  bank  remained  in  that  location  for  a  period 
of  two  years  and  in  1903  moved  into  one  of  the  first  brick  buildings  in 
Imperial,  one  door  south  of  its  present  location.  In  1907  the  capital 
stock  was  increased  to  $50,000  and  in  1908  moved  into  its  present  loca- 
tion. The  bank  owns  the  building  next  door  as  well  as  its  present  quar- 
ters. The  officers  are :  President,  LeRoy  Holt ;  vice  president,  N.  A. 
Mackey;  cashier,  O.  K.  Thomas;  assistant  cashiers,  C.  W.  Hinderks 
and  C.  S.  Hill.  The  total  resources  of  the  bank  are  $725,000  and  total 
deposits  are  $550,000.  All  of  the  men  identified  with  the  bank  are  rec- 
ognized as  far-sighted,  keen  and  discriminating  business  men  and  the 
bank  has  enjoyed  a  steady  and  rapid  growth. 

The  Farmers  and  Merchants  Bank  of  Imperial  was  formerly 
organized  as  the  Imperial  City  Bank  in  1907.  The  following  persons 
were  named  as  directors  in  the  original  articles  of  incorporation:  Geo. 
A.  Parkyns,  J.  R.  Stevenson,  R.  H.  Benton  and  W.  D.  Garey.  Mr. 
Byron  H.  Cook  was  made  secretary  of  the  bank  and  became  its  first 
cashier.  To  these  the  following  members  were  added  as  directors  for 
the  ensuing  year:  F.  C.  Paulin,  A.  J.  Waters  and  Geo.  J.  Dennis,  all  of 
Los  Angeles,  California.  The  authorized  capital  of  the  bank  was  $50,- 
000,  but  it  operated  from  the  date  of  its  incorporation  until  January  I, 
1918,  with  a  paid  up  capital  of  $25,000.  In  January,  1910,  the  control- 
ling interest  of  the  bank  was  purchased  by  L.  J.  Thomas.  Several  of 
the  former  stockholders  retiring,  the  stock  was  placed  largely  in  the 
vicinity  of  Imperial.  The  name  of  the  bank  was  changed  to  Farmers 
and  Merchants  Bank  of  Imperial,  with  commercial  and  savings  depart- 


228  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

merits.  At  the  time  of  the  purchase  of  the  institution  the  deposits  were 
$32,000;  loans  and  discounts  $31,000.  Under  the  new  management  the 
bank  continued  to  grow  until  it  became  necessary  to  increase  its  cap- 
ital stock.  On  January  1,  1918,  Frank  Wilkin,  formerly  of  Lenox, 
Iowa,  subscribed  the  balance  of  the  capital  stock  and  succeeded  to  the 
presidency.  The  current  statement  of  the  bank  shows  deposits  $315,500, 
loans  and  discounts  $235,000,  and  the  affairs  of  the  institution  are  in 
splendid  condition.  It  has  always  been  the  policy  of  the  institution  to 
recognize  first  the  claims  of  local  demands,  and  it  has  steadfastly  re- 
fused to  purchase  bonds  or  outside  securities,  waiving  this  policy  only 
in  behalf  of  Liberty  Bonds. 

Imperial  Valley  Bank  of  Brawley. — Since  its  organization  in 
1903  this  bank  has  had  a  steady  growth.  It  transacts  a  general  com- 
mercial and  savings  banking  business,  in  accordance  with  the  laws  gov- 
erning banks  in  this  state.  The  bank  was  originally  started  in  an  adobe 
building  and  was  known  as  the  First  Bank  of  Brawley.  F.  S.  Miller  was 
president  and  Wm.  T.  Dam  cashier.  Mr.  Miller  served  in  this  capacity 
for  one  year,  when  F.  C.  Paulin  of  Los  Angeles  was  made  president. 
The  following  year  W.  F.  Holt  secured  controlling  interest  and  was 
made  president.  The  name  of  the  bank  was  changed  to  Imperial  County 
Bank  and  Mr.  Holt  served  as  president  for  three  years.  Disposing  of 
his  stock,  W.  T.  Dunn  was  made  president  in  1905  and  has  served  in 
that  capacity  since.  The  bank  started  with  a  capital  stock  of  $25,000 
and  in  1912  the  capital  stock  was  increased  to  $50,000,  and  in  1917  it 
was  again  increased  to  $100,000.  The  present  officers  of  the  Imperial 
Valley  Bank  are :  President,  Wm.  T.  Dunn ;  vice  president,  W.  H.  Best ; 
cashier,  M.  G.  Doud;  assistant  cashiers,  Roy  Stilgenbauer  and  H.  J. 
Ingram.  In  191 5  the  bank  was  enlarged  and  remodeled  at  an  expense 
of  $20,000.  The  bank's  business  has  been  conducted  in  a  creditable  and 
up-to-date  manner,  all  modern  methods  and  appliances  being  used,  and 
it  has  given  patrons  the  service  that  is  now  looked  for  by  the  progres- 
sive business  man.  The  interior  of  the  bank  is  finished  in  rich  Circassian 
walnut  and  the  interior  effect  is  seldom  seen  outside  the  larger  cities. 

First  National  Bank  of  Brawley. — Among  the  solid,  conserva- 
tive and  reliable  moneyed  institutions  of  Imperial  County  is  the  First 


BANKING 


229 


National  Bank  of  Brawley.  The  bank  was  organized  in  1907  with  a 
capital  stock  of  $25,000  and  a  surplus  of  $25,000.  In  1915  the  capital 
stock  was  increased  to  $50,000  and  surplus  $10,000.  In  1917  the  capital 
stock  was  again  increased  to  $70,000  and  surplus  $30,000.  The  original 
officers  of  the  bank  were:  President,  W.  T.  Dunn;  vice  president,  R. 
E.  Wills;  cashier,  F.  F.  Parmerlee.  The  present  officers  of  the  bank 
are :  President,  W.  T.  Dunn ;  vice  president,  R.  E.  Wills ;  cashier,  R.  L. 
Angell;  assistant  cashiers,  R.  Clayton  Lee,  Frank  Ford,  and  Edwin  A. 
Wells.  The  bank  started  in  the  Oakley  Block,  a  mercantile  building, 
corner  of  Sixth  and  Main  Streets,  and  in  1914  the  bank  purchased  the 
entire  building  and  takes  in  the  three  stores  facing  Main  Street  and 
erected  an  extension  on  Sixth  Street  which  is  occupied  by  four  offices. 
The  bank  was  remodeled  in  1917  and  modern  and  up-to-date  fixtures 
and  vault  were  installed,  costing  $20,000.  The  bank  has  been  progres- 
sive from  the  start  and  keenly  interested  in  the  upbuilding  of  Brawley 
and  community. 

American  State  Bank  of  Brawley  was  incorporated  June  18, 
1914,  with  a  capital  stock  of  $50,000;  surplus  and  profits,  $7,500.  The 
bank  has  enjoyed  a  steady  growth.  The  original  officers  were:  Presi- 
dent, F.  S.  Lack ;  vice  president,  P.  P.  Hovley ;  cashier,  William  Smith. 
The  bank  opened  a  branch  bank  at  Calipatria  on  November  10,  1914, 
and  has  had  a  steady  growth  coincident  with  the  growth  and  develop- 
ment of  that  town.  The  present  officers  of  the  bank  are:  President, 
P.  P.  Hovley ;  vice  president,  F.  S.  Lack ;  cashier,  G.  H.  Williams ;  the 
directors  are  J.  S.  Nickerson,  George  Nowlin,  Dewey  Carey,  J.  L. 
Taecker,  Harry  Withrow  and  Ray  Griswold.  Both  banks  transact  com- 
mercial and  savings  business  in  all  respects  in  accordance  with  the  laws 
governing  such  banks.  The  interiors  of  both  banks  are  roomy  and  well 
ventilated. 

First  National  Bank  of  Holtville  was  organized  in  1904  with  a 
capital  stock  of  $25,000  and  was  later  increased  to  $50,000.  The  orig- 
inal officers  were  LeRoy  Holt,  president,  and  R.  G.  Webster,  cashier. 
The  present  officers  of  the  First  National  Bank  of  Holtville  are:  Le- 
Roy Holt,  president;  M.  C.  Blanchard,  vice  president,  and  E.  L.  Car- 
son, cashier.  This  bank  is  the  oldest  in  Holtville  and  has  enjoyed  a 


230 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


steady  growth,  and  is  known  as  being  among  the  leading  financial  insti- 
tutions of  Imperial  County,  there  being  an  efficient  corps  of  assistants 
and  a  strong  board  of  directors. 

The  Holtville  Bank  was  organized  in  December,  1910,  with  a 
capital  stock  of  $25,000.  The  first  officers  of  the  bank  were:  President, 
M.  L.  Hazzard;  vice  president,  Porter  N.  Ferguson;  cashier,  O.  N. 
Shaw.  The  present  officers  of  the  bank  are:  President,  O.  N.  Shaw; 
vice  president,  R.  W.  Hoover;  cashier,  S.  E.  Shaw.  The  bank  started 
in  its  present  location  and  moved  to  its  own  handsome  structure  in 
April,  1918,  to  the  corner  of  Holt  and  Fifth  Streets  in  the  Alamo  build- 
ing. The  bank  installed  their  present  fixtures  in  the  new  location  which 
are  modern  and  up-to-date.  The  bank  is  one  of  the  reliable  and  conser- 
vative banks  of  the  county  and  has  enjoyed  a  steady  growth  since  it 
opened  its  doors.  It  has  one  of  the  newest  and  most  modern  vaults  and 
safe  deposit  equipments  in  the  Valley.  The  bank  owns  the  entire  build- 
ing, and  at  present  sub-leases  to  the  drug  store,  telephone  exchange, 
hotel  and  dining  room. 

The  International  Bank  of  Calexico  was  organized  in  October, 
1916,  with  a  capital  stock  of  $25,000.  The  original  officers  were  Frank 
D.  Hevener,  president ;  J.  F.  Steintorf ,  vice  president ;  Paul  B.  Stein- 
torf,  cashier.  The  present  officers  are  Frank  D.  Hevener,  president ;  D. 
R.  Hevener,  vice  president,  and  Samuel  E.  Rottman,  cashier.  The  as- 
sets of  the  bank  as  per  last  call  of  the  State  Banking  Department  were 
$271,000.  Its  remarkable  growth  in  such  a  short  period  is  another  evi- 
dence of  the  rapid  strides  the  City  of  Calexico  is  making. 

First  National  Bank  of  Calexico. — The  forming  of  the  First 
National  Bank  of  Calexico  was  first  conceived  by  John  F.  Giles  and  J. 
M.  Edmunds,  who  applied  for  a  charter  in  January,  1910.  The  organi- 
zation was  perfected  and  charter  granted  for  $25,000  capital  stock  and 
doors  opened  for  business  March  14,  1910,  on  the  corner  of  Paulin  and 
Second  Streets  with  the  following  officers  in  charge :  Sidney  McHarg, 
president ;  Edward  Dool,  vice  president ;  J.  A.  Morrison,  cashier ;  J.  M. 
Edmunds,  assistant  cashier.  The  bank  enjoyed  prosperous  business 
from  the  start.  On  the  first  of  November,  1913,  Mr.  D.  A.  Leonard  of 


BANKING 


231 


the  First  National  Bank  of  El  Centro,  associated  himself  with  the  in- 
stitution and  in  January,  1914,  was  elected  cashier  and  J.  M.  Edmunds 
president.  The  following  May  the  deposits  had  grown  to  over  $250,000, 
and  it  was  found  advisable  to  increase  the  capital  stock  to  $50,000. 
The  bank  continued  to  grow  by  leaps  and  bounds,  and  in  January,  1916, 
the  deposits  had  passed  the  half-million  mark.  It  was  then  found  nec- 
essary to  again  increase  the  capital  stock  to  $100,000  to  enable  the  bank 
to  accommodate  the  volume  of  business  and  take  care  of  its  clients.  It 
became  evident  that  the  bank  was  fast  out-growing  its  present  quarters 
and  the  management  proceeded  to  negotiate  for  space  in  the  Anderson 
block  on  the  corner  of  Second  and  Rockwood,  where  it  enjoys  the  dis- 
tinction of  occupying  the  finest  banking  quarters  of  any  town  of  the 
size  of  Calexico  in  Southern  California.  In  January,  1918,  the  bank 
had  total  resources  of  a  million  and  a  half. 

El  Centro  National  Bank  was  organized  and  opened  for  business 
March  9,  1909,  with  F.  B.  Fuller  president,  W.  T.  Bill  vice-president, 
and  F.  W.  Wilson  cashier.  The  capital  stock  is  $30,000.  The  present 
officers  of  the  bank  are:  President,  F.  B.  Fuller;  vice-president,  W.  T. 
Bill ;  cashier,  T.  L.  Doherty.  The  building  is  50  x  75  feet.  The  interior  is 
arranged  so  as  to  secure  the  best  working  conditions,  being  roomy  and 
well  ventilated,  and  the  vault  is  of  the  most  modern  type.  The  bank  has 
been  very  progressive  from  the  start  and  is  numbered  among  the  solid, 
conservative  and  most  thoroughly  reliable  moneyed  institutions  of  Im- 
perial County.  The  bank  owns  its  own  building  and  is  unexcelled  for  its 
equipment  and  banking  facilities. 

•First  National  Bank  of  El  Centro  was  organized  May  10,  1909, 
with  a  capital  stock  of  $50,000.  In  191 5  the  capital  stock  was  increased 
to  $100,000.  The  original  officers  of  the  bank  were :  President,  Le  Roy 
Holt;  vice-president,  True  Vencell;  cashier,  J.  V.  Wachtel,  Jr.  The 
present  officers  of  the  bank  are :  President,  Le  Roy  Holt ;  vice-presi- 
dent, Franklin  J.  Cole;  cashier,  A.  H.  Keller;  assistant  cashiers,  F.  J. 
Gianola,  Ira  L.  Hobdy  and  R.  L.Tilton.  A  consistent  and  steady  growth 
has  been  maintained  until,  at  the  present  time,  it  ranks  among  the  fore- 
most of  the  financial  institutions  of  the  Valley.  The  interior  of  the  bank 
is  finished  in  mahogany,  and  every  method  and  appliance  is  being  used 


232 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


such  as  are  seen  in  the  larger  cities.  The  fire-proof  vault,  which  is  of  the 
most  modern  type,  is  equipped  with  a  time  lock. 

The  Security  Savings  Bank  of  El  Centro  was  organized  June  i, 
1912,  with  a  capital  stock  of  $25,000.  Directors:  LeRoy  Holt,  Geo.  E. 
Kennedy,  Phil.  D.  Swing,  J.  V.  Wachtel,  Jr.,  Virgil  McCombs,  W.  H. 
Brooks,  B.  F.  McDonald,  E.  J.  M.  Hale,  W.  T.  Bill.  November  4,  1916, 
the  name  was  changed  to  Security  Commercial  &  Savings  Bank.  J.  K. 
Hermon,  president;  J.  Stewart  Ross,  vice-president;  O.  G.  Home, 
cashier.  The  three  officers,  O.  Luckett  and  J.  L.  Travers,  composed  the 
board  of  directors.  January  1,  191 8,  the  capital  stock  was  increased  to 
$50,000— $10,000  surplus  earned,  $2200  undivided  profit. 

First  National  Bank  of  Calipatria. — The  growth  of  this  bank 
has  been  most  remarkable.  Under  able  management  it  was  organized  in 
1915  with  a  capital  stock  of  $25,000;  surplus,  $25,000.  The  bank  occu- 
pies a  good  location  in  the  town  of  Calipatria,  in  a  stately  building,  and 
owns  its  new  home.  Every  appliance  and  convenience  known  to  mod- 
ern banking  for  the  purpose  of  safeguarding  the  funds  and  valuables  of 
its  patrons  have  been  installed.  The  officers  of  the  bank  are :  President, 
Wm.  T.  Dunn;  vice-president,  V.  R.  Sterling;  cashier,  M.  Ferguson. 
The  deposits  of  this  institution  have  grown  from  $60,000  to  $250,000 
from  October,  1917,  to  March,  1918.  The  interior  of  the  bank  is  finished 
in  silver-finished  oak,  which  gives  a  very  pleasing  effect. 

First  National  Bank  of  Heber  was  organized  and  started  business 
on  April  2,  1914.  The  officers  of  the  bank  were :  Frank  Beers,  president ; 
George  Varney,  vice-president ;  B.  C.  Beers,  cashier.  The  capital  stock 
is  $25,000.  The  present  officers  are:  President,  A.  W.  Beed;  vice-presi- 
dent, G.  E.  Brock;  cashier,  W.  A.  Harlan.  Deposits,  $140,000;  undi- 
vided profits,  $8000. 


CHAPTER  XV 
CHAMBERS  OF  COMMERCE  IN  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

BY  WAYNE  COMPTON,  COMMERCIAL  SECRETARY,  EL  CENTRO 
CHAMBER  OF  COMMERCE 

In  every  community  there  are  a  certain  number  of  enterprising,  broad- 
gauged  citizens  who  possess  that  fine  inherent  quality  of  constructive- 
ness  which  takes  a  delight  in  creating  something  good  and  worth  while, 
and  of  such  are  successful  chambers  of  commerce  composed. 

Someone  has  said  that  "dreamers  are  the  saviors  of  the  world." 
The  author  mightly  aptly  have  added  "and  the  builders  as  well."  For 
every  progressive  man  is  more  or  less  of  a  dreamer.  He  has  visions  of 
greater  and  better  things  to  come,  and  these  "visions"  are  nothing  more 
or  less  than  constructive  dreams.  Frequently  he  is  called  impractical 
and  no  doubt  rightly  so  at  times,  still  many  an  impractical  dream  has 
turned  out  to  be  a  wonderful  reality.  Particularly  has  this  been  true  in 
this  fertile  Valley,  where  our  bounteous  crops  and  prosperous  cities 
are  ever-present  monuments  to  the  men  who  dared  to  dream  of  an 
agricultural  empire  rising  from  the  forbidding  sands  of  the  desert.  The 
story  of  the  wonderful  transformation  which  has  taken  place  here  in 
less  than  two  decades  has  been  fascinatingly  described  elsewhere  in 
this  volume,  and  the  writer  has  no  desire  to  attempt  a  reiteration,  but 
so  closely  has  the  work  of  our  chambers  of  commerce  been  identified 
with  this  transformation  that  a  reference  now  and  then  may  be  pardon- 
able. 

To  recite  in  detail  the  history  of  the  various  commercial  bodies  of  the 
Valley  would  be  to  chronicle  the  history  of  the  Valley  itself.  From  the 
time  the  first  cluster  of  tent  houses  on  the  site  of  the  Valley's  oldest  city 
began  to  take  on  an  appearance  of  village  dignity  up  to  the  present  day 
the  development  of  this  great  delta  region  of  the  Colorado  has  been  the 
thought  uppermost  in  the  minds  of  the  men  who  have  given  so  ex- 
travagantly of  their  time  in  carrying  on  the  work  of  the  chambers  of 
commerce  to  the  end  that  there  might  be  created  here,  not  only  cities 


234 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


and  thriving  rural  districts  to  be  proud  of  today,  but  that  there  might 
be  handed  down  to  posterity  an  empire  built  on  the  endurable  founda- 
tion of  unblemished  social  worthiness. 

The  career  of  a  chamber  of  commerce  in  a  small  town  is  always  one 
of  extremes  of  fortune.  Either  the  chamber  is  vigorous,  with  a  balance 
in  the  bank,  or  it  is  in  the  dumps  and  exists  in  name  only,  depending  on 
how  recently  the  process  of  rejuvenation  has  been  applied,  but  once  letan 
organization  be  formed  and  it  never  entirely  dies.  True  the  signs  of  life 
may  at  times  be  difficult  of  detection,  but  let  a  matter  come  up  which  is 
vital  to  the  interests  of  the  community  and  the  resurrection  will  be 
prompt  and  effective.  The  reason  why  a  commercial  organization  never 
entirely  dies  is  that  it  is  the  only  instrumentality  through  which  a  com- 
munity can  express  its  opinion  without  laying  itself  open  to  the  criticism 
of  favoring  some  special  interest.  And  so  it  has  been  in  Imperial  Valley. 
Our  organizations  have  prospered  and  become  quiescent,  functioned 
enthusiastically  for  a  time  and  passed  into  somnolence,  but  have  never 
died,  and  be  it  said  in  all  their  varied  careers,  never  took  a  backward 
step.  So,  no  matter  how  soon  the  enthusiasm  of  the  get-together  ban- 
quet wained,  the  community  was  the  gainer.  This  state  of  affairs  is 
bound  to  exist  until  the  time  comes  when  the  little  city  outgrows  its  vil- 
lage clothes  and  becomes  sufficiently  large  and  important  to  support  a 
paid  secretary  and  maintain  a  creditable  headquarters.  It  takes  money 
to  make  the  mare  go,  and  this  is  especially  true  as  respects  chambers  of 
commerce. 

On  account  of  the  peculiar  topography  of  the  country  and  what 
would  appear  to  be  an  unusually  favorable  arrangement  in  location  of 
the  Valley  towns,  several  attempts  have  been  made  to  organize  on  a 
firm  foundation  an  Imperial  Valley  Chamber  of  Commerce,  having  as 
its  directors  a  member  selected  by  the  respective  local  chambers  and  for 
its  object  the  effective  co-operation  and  co-ordination  of  all  Valley  in- 
terests. At  first  glance  this  would  appear  easy  of  accomplishment  and, 
without  argument,  the  thing  to  be  desired  as  a  practical  proposition. 
However,  it  is  unworkable,  as  has  been  demonstrated,  by  the  failure  of 
more  than  one  earnest  attempt  at  that  kind  of  co-operation.  The  plan 
is  impracticable  chiefly  for  the  reason  that  Imperial  Valley  towns,  in 
common  with  all  rapidly  growing  western  cities,  have  an  intense  and 
pardonable  pride  in  themselves  and,  inasmuch  as  the  main  office  of  a 


CHAMBERS  OF  COMMERCE 


235 


Valley  chamber  can  be  located  at  but  one  place,  the  situation  has  always 
proven  a  source  of  extreme  humiliation  to  the  unfavored  communities, 
regardless  of  the  fact  that  the  office  should  be  located  in  the  spot  most 
likely  to  produce  the  best  results  for  all.  The  original  Imperial  Valley 
Chamber  of  Commerce,  beset  though  it  was  with  difficulties  insuperable, 
did  a  valuable  work  for  the  Valley,  as  have  its  numerous  successors,  all 
now  passed  into  the  realm  of  good  things  that  could  not  live.  Many  of 
the  ablest  men  of  the  county  were,  at  one  time  or  another,  earnest  and 
enthusiastic  workers  in  the  Valley  chamber,  and  the  chamber  in  its  day 
played  a  big  part  in  shaping  the  destinies  of  our  incomparable  Valley, 
thereby  justifying  its  creation  by  the  test  of  good  works.  The  Imperial 
Valley  Chamber  of  Commerce  was  finally  absorbed  by  the  office  of  the 
county  development  agent,  an  office  created  by  the  county  board  of 
supervisors  and  supported  by  taxation.  The  first  county  development 
agent  was  Arthur  M.  Nelson,  who  led  the  first  contingent  of  Liberty 
boys  to  Camp  Lewis,  American  Lake,  Washington,  where  he  is  at  the 
present  time.  Nelson  made  an  efficient  publicity  agent,  and  his  going 
was  a  decided  loss  to  the  Valley.  Since  his  departure  the  development 
agent's  office  has  remained  unfilled. 

Coming  now  to  the  chamber  of  commerce  situation  as  it  exists  at  the 
present  time,  the  spring  of  the  year  1918,  we  find  practically  all  of  the 
Valley  towns  with  active  organizations.  The  great  war  in  which  the 
United  States  is  engaged  has  brought  serious  responsibilities  to  all  com- 
mercial organizations  undreamed  of  in  times  of  peace,  and  the  cham- 
bers of  commerce  in  Imperial  Valley  have  responded  patriotically  to  the 
call.  The  chambers  of  commerce  of  America,  taken  collectively,  are  the 
national  stabilizers,  and  it  can  be  said  that  each  individual  chamber  acts 
as  such  for  its  respective  community ;  certainly  this  is  true  with  the 
Valley  chambers.  The  directorates  are  composed  of  level-headed  men, 
who,  when  something  comes  up  vital  to  the  welfare  of  the  community, 
whether  that  something  originates  in  the  national  capital  at  Washington 
or  with  the  local  board  of  city  trustees,  consider  the  matter  intelligently 
and  then  act  with  the  full  knowledge  that  they  are  expressing  the  senti- 
ment of  the  people  affected.  The  desires  or  opinions  of  individuals  ex- 
pressed separately  have,  as  a  rule,  but  little  force;  express  them 
through  the  local  chamber  of  commerce  and  quick  action  usually  re- 
sults. 


236  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

Due  to  the  fact  that  the  great  irrigation  canals  which  furnish  the  all- 
important  water  to  our  ranchers,  reach  Imperial  County  by  dropping 
down  into  Lower  California,  Mexico,  together  with  the  fact  that  the 
Colorado  River,  the  source  of  that  water,  constitutes  the  boundary  line 
between  California  and  Arizona,  has  made  it  necessary  that  this  section 
secure  official  recognition  at  Washington  more  frequently  than  any 
other  section  of  the  State,  and  in  securing  this  recognition  our  cham- 
bers of  commerce  have  rendered  invaluable  assistance.  Not  only  have 
their  co-operation  been  sought  at  Washington,  but  they  have  been  called 
upon  only  recently  to  take  a  stand  in  regard  to  certain  undesirable  con- 
ditions which  had  been  created  affecting  the  moral  welfare  of  the  Val- 
ley. The  response  was  immediate  and  effective,  and  the  saving  to  the 
people  resulting  therefrom  was  great  indeed,  viewed  either  from  a 
moral  or  financial  standpoint.  Remove  the  chamber  of  commerce  from 
the  community  and  you  strangle  the  tap-root  of  progress. 

While,  as  has  been  stated,  the  chambers  of  the  Valley  are  function- 
ing to  the  best  of  their  ability,  only  one  so  far  has  reached  that  stage  of 
opulence  permitting  the  luxury  of  a  secretary  who  spends  his  entire 
time  in  the  conduct  of  the  chamber's  affairs.  El  Centro  being  the  largest 
of  the  Valley  towns,  and  the  railroad  center  of  the  Valley,  finally,  two 
years  ago,  emerged  from  the  stage  of  spasmodic  reorganizations  of  her 
chamber  of  commerce  and  decided  to  establish  an  organization  with 
stability  and  dignity  enough  to  be  a  credit  to  the  Valley's  metropolis. 
Accordingly  several  of  the  business  and  professional  men  of  the  city 
who  had  made  a  success  in  their  various  lines,  took  the  matter  up,  spent 
their  time  and  money  in  raising  a  sufficient  fund  to  guarantee  at  least 
one  year  of  existence,  elected  progressive  citizens,  with  Mr.  A.  L. 
Richmond  as  president,  to  direct  the  affairs  of  the  chamber,  engaged 
Mr.  Don  C.  Bitler,  a  newspaper  man,  as  secretary,  and  launched  forth 
to  "do  things"  for  El  Centro.  For  the  first  time  in  the  history  of  any 
Imperial  Valley  city  the  end  of  the  year  saw  the  chamber  financially  a 
"going  concern,"  which  was  the  source  of  great  satisfaction  to  the  men 
who  had  given  so  liberally  of  their  time  in  directing  its  affairs,  and, 
best  of  all,  the  chamber  had  become  recognized  by  all,  except  a  few 
alleged  business  men  with  cobwebs  on  their  merchandise,  as  an  indis- 
pensable asset  to  the  community.  At  the  end  of  the  first  year  Mr.  Rich- 
mond retired  as  president  and  Mr.  F.  B.  Fuller,  president  of  the  El 


CHAMBERS  OF  COMMERCE 


237 


Centro  National  Bank  and  a  pioneer  of  El  Centro,  was  elected  to  take 
his  place.  Soon  after  this  Mr.  Bitler  resigned  as  secretary,  returning  to 
the  newspaper  field,  and  Wayne  Compton,  who  had  had  charge  of  Im- 
perial Valley's  interests  at  the  Panama-Pacific  International  Exposition 
held  in  San  Francisco  in  191 5,  and  the  commercial  publicity  for  all  of 
Southern  California  at  the  Panama-California  International  Exposition 
at  San  Diego  in  1916,  was  offered  the  commercial  secretaryship.  He  ac- 
cepted the  offer  and  still  holds  the  position. 

At  the  expiration  of  Mr.  Fuller's  term  as  president,  so  faithful  had 
he  been  to  the  interests  of  the  chamber  that  he  was  unanimously  chosen 
to  succeed  himself  over  his  very  earnest  protest,  and  so  the  El  Centro 
Chamber  of  Commerce  enters  auspiciously  upon  its  third  year  of  vigor- 
ous activity. 

Because  of  its  location,  El  Centro  (Spanish  for  "The  Center")  is 
naturally  the  clearinghouse  for  business  in  Imperial  Valley,  and  it 
naturally  follows  that,  while  the  chamber  of  commerce,  strictly  speak- 
ing, is  an  El  Centro  institution  and  supported  by  El  Centro  money,  it  is 
the  fountain  head  for  Valley  information.  Faithfully  and  regularly  its 
eleven  directors  meet  every  Thursday  night,  and  the  amount  of  impor- 
tant business  handled  at  these  meetings  is  a  revelation  to  anyone  who 
has  never  sat  through  a  meeting.  Space  does  not  permit  a  recitation  of 
the  big  things  this  organization  has  done  and  is  doing  for  El  Centro  and 
the  Valley. 

The  El  Centro  Chamber  of  Commerce  has  already  become  recognized 
as  one  of  the  most  active  and  important  in  the  West,  and  its  usefulness 
has  just  begun.  With  the  rapid  development  of  the  Valley  and  conse- 
quent growth  of  El  Centro,  accelerated  as  it  will  be  by  the  coming  of 
another  railroad,  now  building,  will  in  the  next  decade  take  its  place 
among  the  leading  organizations  of  its  kind  in  America. 


CHAPTER  XVI 
FRATERNAL 


There  is  no  more  rational  or  potential  expression  or  indication  of  the 
permanency  and  enduring  growth  in  the  commercial,  industrial  and  so- 
cial sides  of  a  community  than  is  to  be  found  in  the  establishment  of 
Masonic  organizations  and  their  subsequent  expansion.  One  of  the  un- 
answerable arguments  in  favor  of  the  high  order  of  social  advancement 
in  the  Imperial  Valley  is  to  be  found  in  the  strength  and  character  of 
its  Masonic  bodies.  And  incontrovertible  is  the  fact  that  no  community 
elsewhere  can  boast  of  a  cleaner,  higher  or  prouder  type  of  citizenship 
than  is  now  to  be  found  within  the  ranks  of  Freemasonry  in  the  Im- 
perial Valley. 

As  in  the  past,  the  experience  of  the  Masons  of  the  Valley  has  dif- 
fered little,  if  in  any  degree,  from  that  of  other  communities  in  respect 
of  the  trials  and  tribulations  of  primary  organization.  Here,  as  else- 
where, "ups  and  downs"  have  been  enough  to  make  the  stoutest  heart 
quail  before  repeated  failures  and  disappointments.  But,  true  to  the 
spirit  of  Masonry,  its  past  history  and  traditions  through  the  centuries 
since  its  birth,  it  has  fought  its  way  slowly  and  steadily  and  surely  to 
the  front  and  over  the  top,  until  today  its  votaries  are  legion  and  com- 
ponent parts  of  the  brain  and  brawn,  the  bone  and  sinew  of  the  land 
and  the  salt  of  the  earth. 

Masonry  in  the  Imperial  Valley  numbers  the  leading  citizens,  busi- 
ness men,  professional  men,  and  men  in  every  walk  of  life  whose  char- 
acters are  above  reproach  and  who  are  numbered  among  those  who 
"builded  better  than  they  knew."  And  it  is  not  saying  too  much  to  make 
the  assertion  that  Masonry  has  taken  a  marvelous  hold  upon  the  hearts 
of  its  people  in  the  Imperial  Valley,  and  is  growing  splendidly  in  a  high- 
ly intelligent  and  systematic  fashion.  This  applies  to  the  symbolic  lodges 
and  the  Eastern  Star  primarily  and  fundamentally,  where  Masonry 
plants  its  standard  and  sets  its  foundation  stones  in  adamant  as  solid 


FRATERNAL 


239 


and  immovable  as  the  eternal  Rock  of  Ages.  The  membership  of  the 
five  symbolic  lodges  and  the  five  Eastern  Star  chapters  of  the  Valley  is 
one  to  be  proud  of  in  any  community  on  earth. 

There  is  no  better  evidence  of  the  presence  of  high  social  standards 
than  the  existence  of  these  bodies,  and  no  surer  evidence  of  advancing 
prosperity  than  their  rapid  growth.  And  this  applies  with  equal  force 
and  effect  to  every  part  of  California,  where  Masonry  is  growing  by 
leaps  and  bounds  and  numbering  among  its  disciples  the  best  that  so- 
ciety has  to  give.  And  this  is  good,  viewed  in  the  light  of  the  quiet,  un- 
obtrusive, unostentatious  but  none  the  less  God-given  work  of  charity 
accomplished  by  Freemasonry  among  the  nations  of  the  earth  since  time 
began,  and  especially  since  the  birth  of  the  present  awful  world-war, 
the  most  terrible  holocaust  of  carnage  the  world  has  ever  seen,  where 
the  human  family  is  receiving  its  fearsome  baptism  of  blood — and  to 
what  end  ? 

Masonry  is  filling  its  allotted  niche  in  this  world  of  exclamation  and 
interrogation  points  for  the  dispensation  of  charity  to  stricken  hearts 
and  suffering  humanity,  the  alleviation  of  distress  among  men  and 
women.  Mason  or  profane,  and  the  coming  of  a  world  peace,  "when 
war  shall  be  known  no  more,"  and  "when  the  reign  of  our  blessed 
Emanuel,  the  Prince  of  Peace,  the  great  Captain  of  our  salvation  shall 
become  universal  and  eternal." 

No  one  who  knows  will  begrudge  to  Masonry  the  exalted  position  it 
has  attained  among  the  nations  of  the  earth  as  the  greatest  charitable 
organization  the  world  has  ever  known. 

KNIGHTS  OF  PYTHIAS 

In  Imperial  Valley,  the  vast  inland  empire  with  its  untold  millions  of 
commercial  wealth,  where  cotton  is  king  and  the  mighty  Colorado  River 
is  diverted  into  irrigation  ditches,  Pythianism  wended  its  way  soon 
after  the  pioneer  had  demonstrated  the  vast  richness  of  its  soil.  In  Pyth- 
ianism this  large  expanse  of  country  is  officially  known  as  the  34th 
Convention  District  of  the  Domain  of  California. 

Pythianism  invaded  Imperial  County  in  1906,  thus  making  it  possible 
for  the  foundation  of  the  "lowest  down  lodges  on  earth."  Imperial 
Lodge  No.  36  was  instituted  in  the  city  of  Imperial  on  September  39th 
of  that  year.  There  were  20  charter  members  and  the  largest  number 


240 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


ever  reached  was  22  members.  After  a  brief  struggle  it  surrendered  its 
charter  to  the  Grand  Lodge  in  June  of  1910,  though  it  had  not  reported 
to  that  body  since  December  of  1907. 

In  the  spring  of  191 1  another  attempt  was  made  to  plant  the  banner 
of  Pythianism,  but  this  time  in  the  city  of  Brawley.  Through  the  un- 
tiring efforts  of  E.  A.  Morris,  a  member  of  Fort  Bragg  Lodge  No.  24,  a 
lodge  was  finally  instituted  in  Brawley  on  June  15,  1911,  with  23  char- 
ter members.  Brawley  Lodge  No.  292  today  is  one  of  the  most  active 
lodges  in  the  Valley,  though  not  the  largest,  having  only  a  membership 
of  about  100. 

Holtville  Lodge  No.  301  at  Holtville  was  organized  through  the  ef- 
forts of  J.  H.  Whistler,  a  member  of  Helmet  Lodge  No.  25,  and  was 
instituted  April  1,  191 2.  The  lodge  is  the  smallest  one  in  the  Valley, 
only  having  a  membership  of  47. 

The  organization  of  El  Centro  Lodge  No.  315,  located  at  El  Centro, 
was  brought  about  mainly  through  the  efforts  of  J.  Stanley  Brown, 
who  at  that  time  held  membership  in  Redlands  Lodge  No.  186.  J.  Stan- 
ley Brown  is  now  spoken  of  as  the  "Father  of  315."  On  November  26, 
1913,  this  lodge  was  instituted  with  a  charter  membership  of  123.  The 
lodge  has  progressed  until  today  it  has  nearly  200  members.  Officers: 
Chancellor  Commander,  J.  H.  House;  vice-chancellor,  A.  L.  Lackey; 
prelate,  R.  A.  Chestnut ;  master  of  work,  Marvin  Moore ;  keeper  of  rec- 
ords and  seal,  R.  Kellerstraus ;  master  of  finance,  B.  C.  Leech;  master 
of  exchequer,  Y.  N.  Adams ;  inner  guard,  F.  M.  Moore ;  outer  guard, 
L.  R.  Stillman. 

Calexico  was  the  last  to  institute  a  lodge,  and  this  was  accomplished 
mainly  through  the  efforts  of  the  other  lodges  in  the  Valley.  The  lodge 
was  instituted  on  March  13,  1914,  with  83  charter  members.  The  lodge 
has  prospered  ever  since  the  institution  and  today  has  a  membership  of 
about  150.  The  Calexico  Lodge  bears  the  distinction  of  being  the  only 
lodge  in  the  State  of  California  located  on  the  Mexican  border.  Officers : 
Chancellor  commander,  D.  L.  Ault ;  vice-chancellor,  E.  L.  Parker ; 
prelate,  W.  B.  Park,  Jr.;  master  of  work,  A.  E.  Liscahk;  keeper  of 
records  and  seal,  H.  W.  Going;  master  of  finance,  R.  G.  Goree;  master 
of  exchequer,  Max  Harris ;  inner  guard,  H.  J.  Edwards ;  outer  guard, 
James  Price. 

The  honor  roll  of  Pythians  of  the  Valley  lodges  in  the  U.  S.  service 


FRATERNAL 

contains  31  names,  and  nearly  every  branch  of  the  service  is  repre- 
sented. 

EL  OASIS  TEMPLE  NO.  I73  DRAMATIC  ORDER  KNIGHTS  KHORASSAN 

On  April  11,  1914,  El  Oasis  Temple  No.  173,  D.  O.  K.  K.,  was  in- 
stituted with  a  charter  membership  of  150.  The  affairs  of  the  Temple 
have  prospered  until  today  the  roster  contains  nearly  300  names.  The 
ceremonials  of  the  Temple  are  held  annually  and  are  attended  by  mem- 
bers from  all  over  Southern  California,  for  they  are  the  creators  of 
clean  enjoyment  for  all  Pythian  Knights. 

Royal  vizier,  Lou  Philley;  grand  emir,  Geo.  Dixon;  sheik,  E.  J. 
Clark ;  secretary,  R.  Kellerstraus ;  treasurer,  A.  C  Nieman ;  satrap,  C. 
B.  Farris ;  sahib,  T.  A.  Tunstall ;  mahedi,  G.  H.  Mathews. 

EL  CENTRO  TEMPLE  NO.  77,  PYTHIAN  SISTERS 

The  youngest  organization  in  the  Imperial  Valley  Pythian  family  is  El 
Centro  Temple  No.  77,  Pythian  Sisters,  which  was  instituted  February 
28,  1 9 1 6,  by  Past  Grand  Chief  Mary  Livingston.  The  institution  was 
brought  about  by  Mrs.  Lulu  Thompson,  then  a  member  of  Moonstone 
Temple  No.  101.  The  charter  membership  was  about  40,  and  today  the 
membership  has  increased  to  over  80.  The  sisters  are  very  much  inter- 
ested in  Red  Cross  work  and  have  charge  of  the  local  Red  Cross  head- 
quarters two  days  of  each  week. 

Most  excellent  chief,  Mrs.  Zella  North ;  excellent  senior,  Mrs.  Sophia 
Kellerstraus ;  excellent  junior,  Mrs.  Marvin  Moore ;  manager,  Mrs.  Y. 
N.  Adams;  mistress  of  records  and  correspondence,  Mrs.  Cathalene 
Moffat;  mistress  of  finance,  Mrs.  Frank  M.  Moore;  protector  of  the 
temple,  Mrs.  F.  G.  Wier;  guard  of  the  temple,  Mrs.  G.  W.  Hortson. 

EL  CENTRO  LODGE,  1 325,  B.  P.  O.  E. 

El  Centro  Lodge,  1325,  Benevolent  and  Protective  Order  of  Elks, 
was  organized  in  January,  1916,  the  institution  being  done  by  the  San 
Diego  lodge.  J.  Stanley  Brown  was  the  first  Exalted  Ruler.  The  charter 
roll  consisted  of  35  men,  all  former  Elks.  Phil  D.  Swing  was  elected 
Exalted  Ruler  in  March  of  the  same  year  and  during  the  next  twelve 
months  the  baby  lodge  reached  a  membership  of  75,  more  than  100  per 
cent  increase.  Vern  R.  Bishop  was  the  next  Exalted  Ruler,  and  the 


242 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


lodge  now  numbers  120  members.  Otis  B.  Tout  will  be  in  the  Exalted 
Ruler's  chair  for  the  next  year.  During  its  existence  the  El  Centro 
lodge  has  participated  in  many  patriotic  and  charitable  events  and  is 
rapidly  becoming  a  forceful  factor  and  an  aid  to  the  government  in  the 
present  war.  A  five-year  program  is  being  mapped  out.  Club  rooms  will 
be  leased  and  furnished  this  summer  and  a  home  will  be  built  after  the 


tw 

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CHAPTER  XVII 
ARCHITECTURE 

BY  SAMUEL  BLAIR  ZIMMER 

No  one  expects  Class  A  buildings  in  a  new  community,  nor  is  the  art 
feature  ever  highly  developed  in  such  a  locality.  We  must  consider 
things  relatively,  and  it  is  great  progress  that  has  been  made  here,  and 
the  beginning  is  at  hand  for  "cities  beautiful"  that  may  easily  be  real- 
ized in  the  time  to  come. 

From  the  formal  opening  of  the  Valley  in  1900  until  1907  the  devel- 
opment was  from  tent  houses  up  to  characteristic  cheap  frontier  struc- 
tures. Building  materials  were  very  high  priced,  owing  to  high  freight 
rates,  and  very  little  money  was  available  for  buildings  on  account  of 
the  extreme  necessity  for  improving  the  land. 

During  the  year  1907  quite  an  activity  in  building  began  and  rapid 
colonization  made  it  desirable  to  provide  suitable  schools  and  public 
buildings  for  a  people  intent  on  permanent  residence. 

The  cost  of  building  material  made  it  necessary  to  use  local  products 
as  much  as  possible,  and  this  necessarily  limited  the  art  impulse.  But  in 
a  short  time  there  was  an  improvement  in  this  respect,  and  in  1908  the 
Valley  launched  out  in  a  manner  that  produced  as  good  a  class  of 
buildings  as  could  be  expected  in  a  new  country,  building  many  credit- 
able school  buildings  in  country  districts  and  grammar  school  buildings 
in  the  towns. 

In  1909  the  Imperial  Union  High  School  district  erected  at  Imperial 
a  good  high  school  building  which  in  design  and  arrangement  ranks 
with  the  best  in  the  state  for  its  size. 

In  1910  the  Holtville  Union  High  School  district  followed  with  a 
similar  well-constructed  high  school  building. 

In  191 1  El  Centro  Union  High  School  district  built  a  high  school 
unit  which  has  been  added  to  up  to  date  at  a  total  cost  of  about  a  quarter 
of  a  million  dollars. 


244 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


Brawley  and  Calexico  Union  districts  have  also  built  fine  high  school 
buildings,  bringing  the  total  investments  in  high  school  buildings  in  the 
valley  to  about  $700,000,  all  being  strictly  modern  structures. 

The  grammar  school  buildings  in  all  of  the  Valley  cities  are  of  the 
best  designs  and  well  laid  out  for  the  work  intended,  while  most  of  them 
are  built  of  durable  materials. 

There  are  three  Carnegie  public  libraries  in  the  Valley,  at  Imperial, 
El  Centro  and  Calexico,  all  of  which  are  well-designed  structures,  and 
each  city  is  well  provided  with  church  buildings  for  several  denomina- 
tions. 

Each  town  has  made  ample  provision  with  fine  hotels  for  the  accom- 
modation of  the  stranger.  The  famous  Barbara  Worth  Hotel  in  El 
Centro,  begun  in  1913,  would  be  a  credit  to  any  city. 

One  and  two-story  store  buildings  in  the  retail  districts  of  the  Valley 
cities  have  arcades  over  the  sidewalks  and  are  wide  spreading  in  de- 
sign. Some  of  them  have  fronts  of  handsome  design,  which  the  mer- 
chants so  trim  as  to  make  effects  and  displays  equal  to  large  city  stores. 
Among  the  store  buildings  of  importance  are  the  Anderson  building  in 
Calexico,  which  cost  $75,000,  and  the  Auditorium  building  in  the  same 
city,  which  cost  $50,000.  They  are  both  of  reinforced  concrete  and  of 
good  design. 

The  industrial  district  of  El  Centro  contains  several  handsome  re- 
inforced concrete  buildings,  notable  among  them  being  a  model  cream- 
ery, the  largest  west  of  the  Missouri  river. 

The  residence  districts  in  all  of  the  Valley  cities  are  being  built  up 
with  handsome  bungalows  and  some  good  residences  costing  from 
$10,000  to  $15,000.  Most  of  these  are  typical  of  California  cities,  while 
others  have  extensive  screened  porches  and  screened  sleeping  rooms, 
adapted  to  a  warm  climate. 

Imperial  County  built  a  temporary  court  house  at  El  Centro,  the 
county  seat,  in  the  central  part  of  the  city,  in  1908,  where  county  busi- 
ness still  is  being  transacted,  but  the  county  has  a  five-acre  tract  on 
West  Main  Street,  on  which  now  is  being  constructed  a  jail  building  at 
a  cost  of  $90,000.  This  is  a  modern,  fire-proof,  reinforced  concrete 
building.  It  will  be  a  unit  in  the  future  permanent  court  house,  which 
is  to  be  a  structure  of  modern  design,  incorporating  all  the  features 
necessary  to  make  it  one  of  the  best  court  houses  in  the  state. 


ARCHITECTURE 


245 


In  general,  the  architectural  designs  are  above  the  standard,  as  com- 
pared with  similar  localities.  The  public  buildings  follow  the  designs 
which  are  common  throughout  the  states  in  the  best  localities,  while 
the  stores  and  business  buildings  are  distinct  in  their  arcade  effects, 
which  lend  themselves  to  novel  designs. 


CHAPTER  XVIII 
THE  IMPERIAL  COUNTY  FEDERATION  OF  WOMEN'S  CLUBS 

BY  MRS.  ERNEST  POSTON 

The  pioneers  of  the  country  leave  a  lasting  imprint  upon  a  locality, 
for  they  have  laid  the  foundation  stones,  and  the  building  that  follows 
must  in  a  measure  conform  to  the  foundation. 

Imperial  County  was  doubly  blessed  in  its  pioneer  women,  for  in  ad- 
dition to  the  courage,  endurance  and  perseverance  which  are  the  com- 
mon characteristics  of  all  peoples  who  build  new  empires,  these  first- 
comers  possessed  culture  and  vision  that  gave  them  sight  beyond  mate- 
rial necessities.  It  was  owing  to  their  determination  that  the  lives  of 
their  families  should  not  be  bare  of  the  culture  that  united  effort  gives 
that  these  women  bravely  banded  themselves  together  to  look  after  the 
mental  and  social  welfare  of  their  community. 

As  soon  as  possible  each  town  had  its  women's  club,  alive  to  the  many 
civic  and  social  needs  of  the  people,  and  working  tirelessly,  sometimes 
against  almost  overwhelming  odds,  that  the  needed  reforms  should  be 
accomplished. 

Much  of  the  beauty  of  the  Valley  is  the  direct  result  of  the  efforts  of 
the  women's  clubs  in  planting  trees,  grass,  shrubbery  and  flowers. 

On  February  22,  1910,  the  Imperial  Valley  Federation  of  Women  s 
Clubs  was  organized  in  El  Centro,  thereby  widening  the  scope  of  work. 
The  social  feature  of  this  occasion  was  carried  out  in  a  luncheon  that 
was  much  more  elaborate  than  anything  before  attempted  in  this  new 
country,  and  was  indeed  an  occasion  long  to  be  remembered. 

Mrs.  Violette  S.  Campbell,  of  the  El  Centro  Women's  Ten  Thousand 
Club,  was  elected  the  first  president.  She  ably  filled  the  position  and 
was  re-elected,  having  the  distinction  of  being  the  only  woman  who  has 
held  the  office  for  two  years.  At  the  close  of  Mrs.  Campbell's  adminis- 
tration the  term  was  limited  to  one  year,  the  presidency  to  be  given  in 
rotation  to  each  club  in  the  federation. 

Committees  to  handle  the  different  phases  of  club  work  were  added 


IMPERIAL  COUNTY  FEDERATION  OF  WOMEN'S  CLUBS       247 

as  the  need  presented  itself.  Today  there  are  six  chairmen  of  the  fol- 
lowing departments:  Birds  and  Wild  Life,  Civics  and  Forestry,  Club 
Extension,  History  and  Landmarks,  Child  Welfare,  Home  Economics. 
The  standing  committees  are:  Entertainment,  Press  and  Parliamen- 
tarian. 

The  most  important  event  in  the  life  of  the  federation  was  the  14th 
convention  of  the  Southern  California  District  Federation  of  Women's 
Clubs,  which  convened  in  El  Centro  on  November  9,  191 5.  Perhaps  no 
other  community  in  the  world  could  boast  of  so  much  accomplished  in 
so  short  a  time  as  could  Imperial  Valley,  and  the  visiting  club  women 
enjoyed  it  to  the  full — from  the  new  Barbara  Worth  Hotel  with  its  pic- 
tured story  of  reclamation,  to  the  wonderful  afternoon  at  Calexico, 
when  the  Women's  Progress  Club  entertained  the  visitors.  A  feature  of 
this  entertainment  was  exhibits  of  a  variety  of  things  that  could  be 
raised  here,  and  a  visit  to  the  cotton  and  oil  mills ;  nor  were  the  other 
clubs  outdone  by  Calexico,  each  club  gave  that  which  was  uniquely  ap- 
propriate to  the  locality.  A  luncheon  at  Brawley  was  furnished  by  the 
Northend  clubs.  Holtville  served  tea  at  the  Harold  Bell  Wright  home, 
and  Heber  served  home-grown  dates  at  the  Fawcett  ranch. 

The  convention  brought  much  to  Imperial  Valley,  and  Imperial  Val- 
ley also  gave  much  to  its  visitors ;  as  one  delegate  expressed  it,  "I  am 
sure  we  all  had  Imperial  Valley  in  our  souls,  and  all  we  need  to  do  is  to 
develop  it." 

The  most  notable  guest  at  the  convention  was  Mrs.  E.  D.  Knight, 
State  President  of  the  Federation  of  Women's  Clubs. 

During  the  present  year  the  federation  has  specialized  in  patriotic 
work.  The  president,  Mrs.  Joseph  F.  Seymour,  Jr.,  of  El  Centro,  has 
urged  upon  the  club  women  the  necessity  for  keeping  up  all  helpful 
organizations.  The  federation  has  purchased  thrift  stamps  with  their 
surplus  funds. 

The  following  are  the  names  of  the  federation  presidents,  their 
terms  and  the  clubs  they  represent : 

Mrs.  Violette  S.  Campbell  El  Centro 1910-1911 

Mrs.  Will  Best,  Brawley 1912 

Mrs.  J.  E.  Peck,  Calexico 1913 

Mrs.  J.  R.  Stevenson,  Imperial 1914 


24g  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

Mrs.  A.  M.  Williams,  Holtville  (resigned) 

Mrs.  C.  F.  Turner,  Calexico  (unexpired  term) 1915 

Mrs.  W.  S.  Cummings,  Heber 1916 

Mrs.  J.  F.  Seymour,  Jr.,  El  Centro i9l7 

Mrs.  H.  L.  Fulton,  Brawley  (elect) 1918 

From  a  small  beginning  the  federation  has  grown  until  there  are 
eleven  clubs  in  the  organization,  the  Bard  Women's  Club  and  the 
Mothers'  Club  of  El  Centro  federating  this  year. 

The  remainder  of  the  chapter  is  given  over  to  the  histories  of  the 
clubs  which  compose  the  federation. 

woman's  ten  thousand  club  of  el  centro 

In  the  spring  of  1908,  after  many  of  the  women  had  gone  out  of  the 
Valley  for  their  vacations,  the  men  who  "stayed  behind"  gathered  from 
day  to  day  (for  their  luncheon  and  dinner)  at  the  Palm  Roof  Garden, 
and  at  these  gatherings  pledged  each  other  to  work  for  a  "City  Beauti- 
ful," with  a  population  of  ten  thousand.  Thus  the  club  got  its  name. 

In  October  of  that  year,  at  the  instance  of  the  opening  of  the  new 
Oregon  Hotel,  a  banquet  was  served,  the  Men's  Club  having  charge  of 
the  program.  At  this  meeting  (to  quote  from  an  article  in  the  Morning 
Star  of  October  23rd)  Mrs.  A.  W.  Swanson  read  a  paper  on  "Woman's 
Civic  Influence,"  in  which  she  urged  the  women  of  El  Centro  to  co- 
operate with  the  Men's  Club  in  their  efforts  for  the  upbuilding  of  "Our 
City  Beautiful."  Before  the  close  of  this  auspicious  gathering  President 
Allen  Kelly  of  the  Ten  Thousand  Club  appointed  a  committee  of  five 
women  "to  take  such  steps  as  were  necessary  to  form  a  woman's  sec- 
tion, auxiliary  to  the  Men's  Club." 

In  pursuance  of  this  call,  such  a  meeting  was  held  on  October  30th 
and  the  following  were  chosen  to  serve  as  officers :  President,  Mrs.  A. 
W.  Swanson;  vice-president,  Mrs.  J.  M.  Eshleman;  recording  secre- 
tary, Mrs.  Genevieve  Williams;  corresponding  secretary,  Mrs.  C.  E. 
Paris ;  treasurer,  Mrs.  C.  F.  Hayden.  Mesdames  C.  F.  Buttress,  J.  R. 
Garre'n,  D.  V.  Noland,  and  Louis  Havermale  were  elected  as  directors. 
This  nucleus  of  a  woman's  club  began  its  existence  with  a  charter  mem- 
bership of  thirty-five. 

On  November  17-18  of  that  year  the  Woman's  Section  co-operated 


IMPERIAL  COUNTY  FEDERATION  OF  WOMEN'S  CLUBS       249 

with  the  Men's  Club  in  the  entertainment  and  reception  given  the  South- 
ern California  Editorial  Association,  which  assembled  in  convention  in 
El  Centro. 

Committees  were  appointed  on  "Parks,"  the  promotion  of  gardens 
and  tree  planting,  also  on  the  elimination  of  dust  from  our  streets,  and 
in  December,  1908,  the  Woman's  Section  took  charge  of  the  domestic 
booth  at  the  Imperial  County  Fair. 

Mrs.  A.  W.  Swanson's  term  of  office  extended  over  a  period  of  three 
years,  laying  the  foundation  for  what  is  destined  to  be  the  largest 
women's  organization  in  the  great  Imperial  Valley.  During  her  presi- 
dency the  Men's  Ten  Thousand  Club  formed  themselves  into  a  chamber 
of  commerce,  and  the  Woman's  Section  became  the  Woman's  Ten 
Thousand  Club  of  El  Centro,  federating  with  the  state  organization  in 
January,  1909. 

In  February,  1910,  a  County  Club  Day  was  held  in  El  Centro,  to 
which  women  from  all  parts  of  the  Valley  were  welcomed.  At  this  time 
was  formed  the  Imperial  County  Federation  of  Women's  Clubs,  the 
second  county  in  California  to  so  organize,  and  Mrs.  Violette  Campbell 
of  El  Centro  was  elected  as  president. 

This  now  thriving  club,  looking  well  to  the  future,  invested  in  a 
choice  piece  of  property  on  State  Street,  laying  the  foundation  for  a 
city  park  and  club  house. 

Mrs.  R.  B.  Vaile  was  the  second  president  of  the  Woman's  Ten 
Thousand  Club,  holding  office  for  two  terms,  from  191 1  to  1913.  The 
club,  during  this  period,  was  passing  through  the  kindergarten  stage, 
seeking  self-expression,  finding,  from  week  to  week,  new  ways  to  be 
helpful  to  the  community,  and  gaining  in  strength  and  members. 

The  Philanthropic  section,  under  the  leadership  of  Mrs.  Flora  Mc- 
Kusick,  did  splendid  work.  Also  the  club,  looking  toward  the  moral  and 
social  uplift  of  the  community,  was  sponsor  to  a  course  of  Lyceum 
entertainments. 

Mrs.  W.  S.  Fawcett  was  elected  as  the  third  president  of  the  W.  T. 
T.  Club.  Her  reign  of  two  terms,  from  1913  to  1915,  was  characterized 
for  its  brilliant  social  life,  an  important  factor  in  a  rapidly-growing 
community.  And,  it  having  been  determined  that  the  site  first  purchased 
for  a  club  home  was  valuable  as  a  business  location,  a  new  club  house 
site  on  the  corner  of  Seventh  and  Olive  was  purchased. 


250 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


Numerous  benefit  days  were  given  by  the  merchants,  strengthening 
the  bond  between  the  women's  organization  and  the  business  interests 
of  the  city. 

Mrs.  A.  H.  Griswold  was  elected  to  succeed  Mrs.  W.  S.  Fawcett  as 
president,  serving  the  club  in  that  capacity  from  1915  to  1917.  Her  ad- 
ministration was  characterized  by  the  establishment  of  a  Lyceum 
course,  which  was,  after  the  second  year,  merged  into  a  week's  Chau- 
tauqua. Better  babies  contests,  extending  over  a  week  of  activities, 
were  held  each  year,  and  the  work  of  the  Social  Service  committee  was 
enlarged  in  scope,  the  young  ladies  of  the  city  on  two  occasions  giving 
a  most  successful  charity  ball,  thereby  raising  the  funds  with  which 
the  club  carried  on  its  humane  work. 

In  November  of  1915  the  Woman's  Ten  Thousand  Club  had  the  great 
privilege  of  being  hostess  for  the  Imperial  County  Federation  to  the 
Southern  District  Convention,  C.  F.  W.  C.  This  convention  was  de- 
scribed by  the  state  president,  Mrs.  Edward  Dexter  Knight  of  San 
Francisco,  as  "unique  in  its  setting,  unique  in  the  hospitality  which  it 
offered,  unique  in  the  pioneer  spirit  which  characterized  its  delibera- 
tions. The  women  of  Imperial  Valley  met  at  the  cross  roads  and  or- 
ganized that  they  might  contribute  more  forcefully  and  fully  to  the 
work  of  the  brave  pioneers  who  had  transformed  a  great  desert  of  in- 
terminable sand  into  a  productive  and  picturesque  dwelling  place.  Their 
influence  is  recognized  in  their  wonderful  Imperial  Valley.  It  will  be 
felt  and  appreciated  by  the  federation."  Also,  on  February  22,  1917, 
the  Woman's  Ten  Thousand  Club  had  the  distinctive  honor  of  enter- 
taining the  general  federation  president  of  women's  clubs,  Mrs.  Josiah 
Evans  Cowles,  at  the  largest  gathering  of  club  women  ever  held  in  the 
Valley. 

Mrs.  W.  S.  Fawcett  was  again  elected  to  the  presidency  of  the  club, 
serving  in  that  position  one  term,  from  1917  to  1918.  During  her  ad- 
ministration the  club  has  gained  largely  in  membership,  the  gain  being 
more  than  double  that  of  any  other  year.  Also  the  club  debt  has  been 
materially  reduced.  This  is  all  the  more  noteworthy  as  the  club  has 
given  no  "money  raising"  entertainments  during  the  year.  Its  member- 
ship being  intensely  patriotic,  and  wishing  in  every  way  possible  to 
stand  behind  the  government,  it  has  given  way  to  the  Red  Cross  and 
other  money-making  activities  incidental  to  our  country  being  at  war. 


IMPERIAL  COUNTY  FEDERATION"  OF  WOMEN'S  CLUES       2  =  I 

The  social  service  work  of  the  club  has  been  merged  into  Red  Cross 
work,  about  three  hundred  and  fifty  dollars  having  been  raised  through 
the  efforts  of  the  club  women  for  carrying  on  this  splendid  work.  The 
present  administration  will  end  in  May  of  this  year. 

At  the  last  meeting  in  March  the  following  were  elected  to  serve  as 
officers  of  the  Woman's  Ten  Thousand  Club  for  the  year  1918-1919: 
President,  Mrs.  F.  B.  Fuller;  vice-president,  Mrs.  M.  F.  Kepley;  re- 
cording secretary.  Mrs.  \Ym.  Fleming;  corresponding  secretary,  Mrs. 
Ernest  Poston ;  treasurer.  Mrs.  Chas.  J.  Ritz.  Directors :  Mrs.  J.  F. 
Seymour,  Jr..  Mrs.  E.  E.  Clements.  Mrs.  Robert  Campbell,  Mrs.  War- 
ren Currier. 

THE  BRAWLEY  WOMAN'S  CLUB 

This  club  was  organized  one  afternoon  in  July.  1904,  under  the  name 
of  the  Brawley  Woman's  Literary  Club.  The  first  meeting  was  held  in 
a  little  adobe  school-house.  Later  the  club  branched  out  into  other  lines 
of  work  and  dropped  the  "literary"  from  the  name.  leaving  it  as  it  is  at 
present.  The  club  was  the  first  women's  club  in  Imperial  Valley,  was 
federated  with  the  district  in  1906.  and  is  also  federated  with  the  Na- 
tional Federation  of  Woman's  Clubs. 

At  present  the  club  is  much  interested  in  Red  Cross  and  war  work  of 
all  kinds  and  is  strongly  agitating  a  club  house. 

HOLTVILLE  WOMEN'S  STCDV  CLCB 

was  organized  October  31,  1908.  with  Mrs.  Lee  Sargent  as  president. 
The  presidents  following  1908  are  as  follows:  Mrs.  G.  M.  Vermilya. 
1909-1910;  Mrs.  M.  A.  Kendall.  1910-1911;  Mrs.  G.  M.  Vermilya, 
1911-1912;  Mrs.  W.  B.  Richards  and  Mrs.  Vaughn  Francis.  1912- 
1914;  Mrs.  Karl  Fahring.  1914-1916:  Mrs.  W.  L.  Huebner.  1915-1916; 
Mrs.  O.  C.  Harris.  1916-1917:  Mrs.  R.  W.  Hoover,  1917-1918. 

The  activities  of  the  club  have  been  devoted  to  dries  and  literature, 
such  as  study  of  American  writers,  Shakespeare's  "Cymbeline"  and 
"Taming  of  the  Shrew."  George  Eliot's  "Adam  Bede."  Meredith's  "Di- 
ana of  the  Crossways,"  Barry's  "Little  Minister."  and  Hawthorne's 
"Scarlet  Letter."  Money  and  time  have  been  devoted  to  civic  better- 
ment, and  in  1918  a  War  Savings  society  has  been  organized. 


252  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

IMPERIAL  WOMEN'S  CLUB 

Was  organized  in  February,  1909,  with  forty  members.  Mrs.  Mott  H. 
Arnold  was  the  first  president  and  Mrs.  W.  A.  Edgar  recording  secre- 
tary. The  following  have  served  as  president  since :  Mrs.  Edgar  Nance, 
Mrs.  S.  E.  De  Rackin,  Mrs.  Otto  Storm  and  Mrs.  J.  A.  Bishop.  When 
the  Imperial  Valley  Federation  was  organized  in  El  Centro,  February 
22,  1910,  the  Imperial  Club  was  the  largest  club  in  the  Valley,  having 
a  membership  of  over  70.  The  first  reciprocity  day  was  observed  in 
Imperial,  the  club  having  as  guests  125  women  from  the  four  clubs 
then  just  beginning  club  life — Brawley,  Calexico,  El  Centro  and  Holt- 
ville. 

Among  the  first  efforts  of  the  club  was  the  Ellen  Beach  Yaw  con- 
cert, given  February,  1910,  at  which  $400  was  realized  from  sale  of 
tickets.  The  activities  of  the  club  were  directed  along  civic  lines,  and 
many  uplifting  and  beneficial  undertakings  were  espoused  in  those 
early  pioneer  days. 

THE  IMPERIAL  VALLEY  COLLEGE  WOMEN'S  CLUB 

The  Imperial  Valley  College  Women's  Club  owes  its  existence  to  Mrs. 
E.  D.  Stuart  of  Imperial,  who,  when  she  first  came  to  the  Valley, 
missed  the  pleasant  associations  of  the  Riverside  branch  of  the  Asso- 
ciation of  Collegiate  Alumnae.  In  October,  1914,  Mrs.  Stuart  invited 
the  women  whom  she  knew  to  be  college  graduates  to  meet  at  her  home, 
and  the  organization  was  formed  by  the  thirteen  women  who  accepted 
the  invitation.  It  was  decided  to  become  affiliated  with  the  national  or- 
ganization as  the  Imperial  Valley  Branch  of  the  Association  of  Colle- 
giate Alumnae. 

At  first  the  membership  of  the  club  was  largely  composed  of  teach- 
ers, but  now  less  than  half  the  members  are  teachers ;  a  few  are  office 
workers,  the  rest  are  married  women,  many  of  whom  live  on  ranches. 
There  are  now  fifty-one  members,  representing  thirty-three  colleges  and 
universities.  Membership  is  of  two  kinds,  regular  and  associate.  The 
regular  members  are  graduates  of  the  colleges  which  belong  to  the  As- 
sociation of  Collegiate  Alumnae ;  the  associate  members  are  women  who 
have  had  at  least  one  year  of  academic  work  in  an  institution  which  has 
a  four-year  course  leading  to  an  A.  B.  degree. 


IMPERIAL  COUNTY  FEDERATION  OF  WOMEN'S  CLUBS 


253 


The  club  meets  eight  times  a  year,  at  least  once  in  each  of  the  six 
towns  from  which  its  members  come.  The  programs,  besides  being  lit- 
erary and  musical,  deal  with  such  topics  as  parent-teachers  associations, 
child  welfare,  household  economics,  woman  suffrage,  vocational  guid- 
ance, peace  and  war.  Members  have  been  very  active  in  the  work  of  the 
Red  Cross  and  food  conservation  organizations  in  their  various  towns. 
The  president,  Mrs.  C.  F.  Turner,  is  chairman  of  the  Junior  Red  Cross 
committee  in  Calexico,  and  is  one  of  the  four-minute  speakers  on  food 
conservation. 

In  1915  the  College  Women's  Club  became  affiliated  with  the  Im- 
perial County  Federation  of  Women's  Clubs,  and  the  next  year  it  co- 
operated with  other  clubs  in  the  national  Baby  Week  movement,  pre- 
paring an  exhibit  of  models,  charts  and  maps,  which  was  displayed  in 
some  of  the  Valley  towns. 

The  club  has  enjoyed  visits  from  several  distinguished  people  from 
outside  the  Valley.  Miss  Mary  Wilson  and  Miss  Ethel  Moore  came  as 
vice-presidents  of  the  Pacific  section  of  the  Association  of  Collegiate 
Alumnae.  Miss  Moore  brought  with  her  Dr.  Aurelia  Reinhart,  president 
of  Mills  College,  who  gave  an  inspiring  talk  on  the  college  woman  and 
the  commonwealth.  At  one  meeting  Reverend  Omsted  gave  a  lecture 
and  showed  an  exhibit  relating  to  the  Indians  of  Alaska,  among  whom 
he  had  lived  and  worked.  At  the  fourth  meeting  held  after  the  entrance 
of  the  United  States  into  the  war,  Prof.  Frederick  Monsen  gave  a  lec- 
ture on  Germany,  giving  personal  observations  made  during  a  visit 
there  just  before  the  war. 

Naturally  this  club  is  interested  in  the  educational  matters  of  the 
county.  This  interest  has  manifested  itself  in  two  very  tangible  ways,  a 
petition  which  resulted  in  the  appointment  of  a  college  club  member  to 
the  position  of  truant  officer  for  the  county,  and  the  establishment  of 
an  annual  scholarship  of  one  hundred  dollars  to  be  given  to  help  an 
Imperial  Valley  girl  through  her  first  year  at  college.  One  such  scholar- 
ship has  been  awarded  already  and  another  will  be  given  this  year. 

The  College  Women's  Club  labors  under  difficulties  involved  in  the 
fact  that  the  members  live  in  so  many  different  towns,  and  at  such  dis- 
tances from  each  other,  but  by  many  this  is  felt  to  be  an  attraction. 
The  members  derive  much  benefit  and  pleasure  from  the  opportunity  to 
know  women  from  every  part  of  the  county.  As  the  club  grows  older 


254  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

and  its  policies  more  settled  it  will  increase  in  influence  in  the  com- 
munity. 

HEBER  PROGRESS  CLUB 

On  January  14,  1914,  a  few  ladies  of  Heber  and  vicinity  met  and  or- 
ganized the  Heber  Progress  Club.  The  constitution  of  the  Federation  of 
Women's  Clubs  was  adopted  and  Mrs.  J.  E.  Brock  was  elected  presi- 
dent. The  first  business  transacted  by  the  new  club  following  the  elec- 
tion of  officers,  was  to  instruct  the  corresponding  secretary  to  apply 
for  membership  in  the  Imperial  County  Federation  of  Women's  Clubs, 
thus  at  once  taking  a  part  in  the  club  life  in  the  Valley.  The  club  also 
belongs  to  the  district  and  state  organizations.  During  the  fall  of  1915 
this  small  club  had  two  red  letter  days.  First,  on  October  16th,  the  an- 
nual conference  meeting  of  the  Imperial  Valley  Federation  was  held  at 
Heber;  in  November  of  the  same  year  the  club  had  the  pleasure  and 
honor  of  entertaining  the  members  of  the  district  convention  at  lunch- 
eon, served  in  the  beautiful  rose  garden  of  the  Fawcett  ranch  home 
near  Heber.  This  was  an  occasion  long  to  be  remembered. 

In  the  year  1916  the  Heber  Progress  Club  had  the  honor  of  furnish- 
ing the  president  and  recording  secretary  for  the  I.  C.  F.  W.  C,  Mrs. 
L.  A.  Barnum  having  been  elected  to  the  office  of  president  upon  her 
removal  from  the  Valley.  Mrs.  W.  S.  Cummings  was  elected  to  serve 
out  the  term,  with  Mrs.  A.  G.  Young  corresponding  secretary. 

Probably  one  of  the  best  things  done  by  the  club  was  the  exhibit,  The 
Model  Dairy,  furnished  for  the  "Better  Babies"  week,  and  an  open 
meeting  for  all  the  mothers  of  the  locality  for  a  better  babies  program 
has  been  made  an  annual  feature  of  the  club  program.  A  bird  day  pro- 
gram for  the  last  week  in  March  has  also  been  made  a  permanent  fea- 
ture. 

During  the  current  year  the  activities  of  the  club  (in  common  with 
all  similar  organizations)  have  been  directed  toward  war  work,  and  the 
programs  have  been  upon  patriotic  subjects,  noteworthy  among  which 
have  been  days  devoted  to  an  outline  of  the  map  of  the  fighting  line, 
showing  the  position  of  the  trenches  and  troops,  and  a  day  devoted  to  a 
study  of  our  flag,  its  origin,  meaning,  and  the  proper  manner  and  regu- 
lations for  its  display. 

The  Heber  Progress  Club  has  responded  nobly  to  all  calls  upon  or- 


IMPERIAL  COUNTY  FEDERATION  OF  WOMEN'S  CLUBS      255 

ganized  service  for  war  work,  and  the  Red  Cross  membership  drive, 
the  Liberty  Bond  sale  on  woman's  day,  the  Hoover  food  pledge  cam- 
paign and  the  Y.  W.  C.  A.  work  were  all  undertaken  and  accomplished 
under  charge  of  the  club. 

Altogether  it  is  worthy  of  record  that  the  banding  together  of  this 
small  number  of  women  under  the  federation  charter  has  done  much 
both  for  themselves  and  the  community. 

CALIPATRIA  WOMEN'S  CLUB 

In  February,  191 5,  Mrs.  C.  W.  Brown  and  several  other  women,  be- 
lieving that  the  needs  of  the  women  of  Calipatria  for  social  life  and 
culture  could  be  filled  in  a  measure  by  organizing  a  women's  club, 
brought  the  matter  before  other  women,  with  the  result  that  a  club  hav- 
ing thirty-five  members  was  found.  It  was  named  the  Calipatria  Wom- 
en's Club.  Mrs.  C.  W.  Brown  was  the  first  president,  and  besides  the 
social  affairs  given  that  year,  which  were  the  most  elaborate  in  the  his- 
tory of  the  club,  the  club  was  largely  instrumental  in  passing  the  $40,- 
000  bond  issue  for  the  Calipatria  Grammar  School,  which  carried  unan- 
imously. 

In  1916  Mrs.  W.  J.  West  was  elected  president.  A  series  of  social 
dances  brought  to  the  club  a  substantial  bank  balance,  to  be  turned  over 
next  year  to  be  administered  by  Mrs.  Brown,  who  was  again  elected 
president. 

A  Liberty  bond  was  bought,  garbage  cans — paid  for  by  the  women's 
clubs — were  placed  on  the  main  streets.  A  donation  was  made  to  the 
Y.  W.  C.  A.,  and  every  Thursday  has  been  set  aside  by  club  members  to 
assist  at  the  Red  Cross  work-room.  The  club  actively  assisted  in  organ- 
izing the  Red  Cross  and  have  donated  largely  to  its  support. 

The  first  year  it  was  organized  the  club  joined  the  County  District 
and  State  Federation,  and  has  always  followed  more  or  less  closely  the 
work  outlined  by  the  federation  for  its  programs. 

Calipatria  is  a  new  town  and  has  all  its  civic  and  social  problems  to 
work  out,  and  the  Calipatria  Women's  Club  is  doing  its  share.  It  has 
not  always  been  able  to  accomplish  all  it  planned,  but  its  members  are 
unselfish  workers,  always  giving  generously  service  for  the  betterment 
of  their  club,  their  town  and  their  country. 


256  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

THE  EL  CENTRO  MOTHERS'  STUDY  CLUB 

Organized  as  a  local  unit  of  the  National  Congress  of  Mothers  in 
March,  1917,  with  a  charter  membership  of  thirty-five,  the  El  Centro 
Mothers'  Study  Club  has  for  its  primary  object  the  study  of  the  great- 
est of  all  professions,  that  of  parenthood.  The  science  of  child  training 
is  making  wonderful  progress,  and  the  intelligent,  progressive  mother 
realizes  this  and  wants  to  avail  herself  of  the  full  benefits  of  all  that  is 
being  discovered  on  the  subject. 

The  members  of  this  club  are  all  mothers  of  young  children  and  are 
earnest  and  enthusiastic  in  their  systematic  study  of  the  child  along 
prescribed  lines,  using  as  their  course  of  study  text  matter  prepared  by 
the  National  Congress  of  Mothers. 

The  club  became  affiliated  with  the  Imperial  County  Federation  of 
Women's  Clubs  two  months  after  its  organization,  and  being  the  young- 
est club  in  the  federation  it  has  hardly  had  time  to  finds  its  bearings  in 
the  club  world,  yet  the  members  feel  that  under  the  able  leadership  of 
its  first  president,  Mrs.  B.  C.  Leich,  and  Mrs.  Jack  Spencer,  the  pres- 
ent leader,  they  have  all  gained  mutual  help  and  inspiration. 

WOMEN'S  IMPROVEMENT  CLUB  OF  CALEXICO 

The  Woman's  Improvement  Club  of  Calexico  was  formed  on  June  3, 
1908,  with  twelve  members.  The  club  was  federated  in  January,  1910, 
and  now  has  a  membership  of  sixty.  The  work  of  the  club  has  always 
been  along  civic  lines,  for  the  betterment  of  the  town.  A  reading  and 
rest  room  has  been  maintained  for  a  number  of  years,  with  park  ad- 
joining. A  new  Carnegie  library  has  just  been  completed,  which  was  a 
project  fostered  by  the  Woman's  Club.  In  1916  a  park  site  and  civic 
center  was  planned  and  a  number  of  the  members  were  active  in  seeing 
these  things  carried  to  a  successful  finish.  Some  literary  work  has  also 
been  accomplished  each  year,  so  that  members  who  are  not  interested 
in  civic  work  find  scope  for  work  along  other  lines. 


CHAPTER  XIX 

WOMAN'S  CHRISTIAN  TEMPERANCE  UNION 

BY  MRS.  C.  ANGIE  MILLER 

When  Imperial  Valley  was  still  a  part  of  San  Diego  County,  a  few 
white  ribboners  came  to  this  desert  land  to  make  their  respective  homes. 
No  temperance  work  having  been  done  here,  a  National  Woman's 
Christian  Temperance  Union  organizer,  Mrs.  Bailey  of  New  York,  was 
invited  to  enter  this  new  field  and  endeavor  to  organize ;  some  prepara- 
tion was  made  for  her  coming,  and  Brawley  was  the  scene  of  the  first 
organization,  with  a  membership  of  thirty-five  charter  members,  Janu- 
ary 20,  1906.  Imperial  was  second  to  respond,  having  a  charter  mem- 
bership of  forty-two  persons.  Calexico  was  third  with  forty-three 
charter  members.  Mrs.  Bailey  said  that  the  latter  was  the  largest  W.  C. 
T.  U.  she  had  ever  organized. 

Being  San  Diego  County,  we  became  locals  of  San  Diego  County  W. 
C.  T.  U.  Geographically  we  were  so  separated  that  it  was  impossible  to 
work  to  any  advantage  under  their  jurisdiction  and  our  environment 
required  special  lines  of  work.  In  November,  1906,  a  general  insti- 
tute was  held  at  Imperial.  Mrs.  Mae  Tongier,  a  national  W.  C.  T.  U. 
lecturer,  being  the  guest  of  honor,  was  invited  to  lecture  and  organize 
locals  wherever  she  thought  wise  throughout  the  Valley.  The  institute 
unanimously  requested  Mrs.  Tongier  to  present  a  petition  to  the  State 
W.  C.  T.  U.  executive,  asking  that  we  be  separated  from  San  Diego 
County  W.  C.  T.  U.  and  form  an  independent  federation.  In  due  course 
of  time  the  request  was  granted.  At  this  time  Mrs.  Tongier  made  a  tour 
of  the  Valley  and  organized  El  Centro  W.  C.  T.  U.,  also  Silsbee,  lo- 
cated about  six  miles  to  the  northwest  of  El  Centro. 

Miss  G.  T.  Stickney,  president  of  the  State  W.  C.  T.  U.,  made  an 
official  visit  and  organized  the  forces  consisting  of  five  locals  into  an 
Imperial  Valley  W.  C.  T.  U.  on  April  2,  1907,  at  Imperial.  This  was 
the  first  organization  of  federated  forces  formed  in  Imperial  Valley. 
Officers  elected  were:  C.  Angie  Miller,  of  Brawley,  president;  Mrs.  S. 


258  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

T.  Bixby,  of  Imperial,  vice-president ;  Maybel  Edgar,  of  Imperial,  re- 
cording secretary ;  Florence  Buttress,  of  El  Centro,  corresponding  sec- 
retary ;  Lizzie  Kramar,  of  Silsbee,  treasurer. 

Miss  Margaret  Wiley,  state  organizer,  toured  the  Valley  in  the  in- 
terest of  medal  contest  work  in  1908,  and  organized  a  union  at  East- 
side  school  house  with  nine  charter  members,  called  the  Alamo  W.  C. 
T.  U.  At  every  annual  convention  an  effort  was  made  to  hold  a  county 
gold  or  silver  medal  contest.  These  contests  are  popular  in  the  locals 
and  medals  are  quite  fashionable.  In  191 1  a  memorial  window  was  con- 
structed in  the  Christian  Church  edifice  at  El  Centro,  in  honor  of  Mrs. 
Ida  Tout,  a  pioneer  temperance  worker  of  Imperial  County,  much 
loved  by  her  associates.  Drinking  fountains  were  installed  on  the  streets 
by  the  local  unions,  in  all  the  incorporated  cities  of  the  Valley,  i.  e.,  El 
Centro,  Imperial,  Calexico,  Holtville  and  Brawley.  A  formal  dedica- 
tion of  each  of  the  fountains  to  the  city  trustees  by  the  local  W.  C.  T. 
U.  was  instituted.  The  local  president  presenting  the  fountain  and 
the  mayor  receiving  it  for  the  city  with  the  appropriate  exercises,  gave 
to  our  cities  filtered  ice  water  for  the  thirsty. 

Imperial  Valley  was  organized  into  a  county  in  1908  and  imme- 
diately our  Valley  W.  C.  T.  U.  took  on  the  dignified  name  of  Imperial 
County  W.  C.  T.  U.  Through  continued  effort  the  county  was  born 
white  and  the  first  legal  act  of  the  first  supervisors  was  a  strong  pro- 
hibition ordinance,  adding  a  truly  prohibition  county  to  our  fair  state 
of  California.  The  pioneer  temperance  workers  labored  under  difficul- 
ties. The  County  W.  C.  T.  U.  sustained  a  detective  fund  and  purchased 
an  apparatus  for  ascertaining  the  per  cent  of  alcohol  in  liquids.  Many 
gallons  of  so-called  soft  drinks  were  never  drank,  leaving  the  dispenser 
wiser  but  not  richer. 

On  February  5,  1909,  Holtville  was  organized,  with  twenty-eight 
charter  members,  by  C.  Angie  Miller,  county  president. 

Mary  Stewart,  state  secretary  of  the  Young  People's  Branch,  organ- 
ized the  Jasper  W.  C.  T.  U.  at  the  school  house,  near  Calexico. 

Verde  W.  C.  T.  U.  was  organized  by  C.  Angie  Miller  seven  miles 
southeast  of  Holtville  at  the  Verde  school  house;  Mrs.  L.  Strain,  presi- 
dent. 

Heber  W.  C.  T.  U.  was  organized  with  Mrs.  M.  A.  Ritter  as  first 
president. 


WOMAN'S  CHRISTIAN  TEMPERANCE  UNION 


259 


Mary  Stewart  introduced  young  people's  work  and  organized  sev- 
eral classes  throughout  the  county,  explaining  essay  contest  work  based 
on  scientific  temperance  instructions,  laid  down  in  the  state  school  law 
of  California.  Essay  contest  work  is  a  department  to  encourage  instruc- 
tions along  scientific  temperance  lines,  and  several  of  our  young  people 
have  received  state  recognition  as  the  best  essayists  on  the  given  topic, 
receiving  $10  as  state  prize  in  the  grades  and  $20  as  state  prize  in  the 
high  school  course,  in  California. 

The  Dry  California  campaign  was  special  for  1914,  and  was  very 
strenuously  conducted.  A  County  Temperance  Day  on  October  6,  1914, 
was  celebrated  at  Calipatria  by  the  temperance  forces  of  Imperial  Val- 
ley, under  the  auspices  of  the  County  W.  C.  T.  U.  Free  barbecue  din- 
ner, submarine  band,  parade,  program  and  cantata,  "The  White  Re- 
public," were  some  of  the  attractions  of  the  day.  A  thousand  people 
were  entertained. 

Bard  W.  C.  T.  U.  was  organized  in  October,  1914,  by  the  state  vice- 
president,  Mrs.  Hester  T.  Griffith. 

Election  on  November  3,  1914,  showed  Imperial  County  to  be  the 
banner  county  of  the  state  of  California.  One  per  cent  against  two  and 
one-half  per  cent  for  the  prohibition  amendment.  Every  townsite  in 
the  county  has  a  strong  temperance  clause  in  its  deeds,  ever  forbidding 
the  giving  away  of  liquor  on  the  premises. 

The  W.  C.  T.  U.  work  is  divided  into  departments  numbering  as 
high  as  fifty.  We  believe  in  temperance  in  our  cooking  and  have  a  de- 
partment that  handles  cooking  flavors  and  toilet  articles,  far  superior 
in  every  way  to  the  alcoholic  preparations,  but  without  alcohol,  called 
No-Als. 

Local  funds  are  also  raised  under  this  department,  by  the  sale  of 
these  articles.  The  pledge  stimulates  the  members  to  eliminate  the 
$1,000,000  annually  spent  in  the  manufacture  of  ordinary  extracts  and 
toilet  articles. 

In  1915  North  End  W.  C.  T.  U.  and  Magnolia  W  .C.  T.  U.  were 
organized  by  Mrs.  C.  Angie  Miller,  county  organizer. 

At  the  annual  convention  of  191 5  Mrs.  Aten  presented  each  of  the 
local  unions  with  a  beautiful  gavel,  made  from  the  natural  mesquite 
wood,  grown  on  her  ranch  near  Calipatria. 

Mrs.    Maggie    Newby,    county    superintendent    of    mothers'    work, 


26o  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

brought  from  the  state  convention  banners  for  Imperial  County  on  sev- 
eral occasions,  and  organized  a  Mothers'  Club  at  Brawley  that  is  doing 
a  great  work. 

Parliamentary  Usage  has  been  a  county  movement,  a  local  and  county 
contest  being  held.  Mrs.  Feldman  of  Holtville  was  a  winning  contest- 
ant for  a  state  prize.  Imperial  County  has  brought  home  the  state  par- 
liamentary banners  several  times.  Much  efficient  work  has  been  done 
by  every  local  union  in  the  county  in  this  department. 

The  Trysting  Hour  or  noontide  prayer  is  a  custom  among  the  white 
ribboners  that  is  certainly  uplifting.  This  word  of  prayer  at  twelve 
o'clock  noon  constitutes  a  prayer  circle  that  extends  around  the  globe. 

Life  membership  was  presented  by  the  County  W.  C.  T.  U.  to  the 
following  ladies  in  recognition  of  efficient  service  rendered :  Mesdames 
C.  Angie  Miller,  Brawley ;  Imogen  Aten,  El  Centro ;  E.  J.  Curtis,  Holt- 
ville; M.  A.  Ritter,  Heber;  Mrs.  Kramar,  Silsbee;  Mae  Webb,  Calexi- 
co ;  Amande  Mackey,  Imperial ;  Mae  Plush,  Brawley ;  Mary  E.  Vencill, 
El  Centro ;  May  C.  Best,  Holtville ;  Mary  E.  Royce,  El  Centro. 

At  the  1915  county  convention  County  President  C.  Angie  Miller 
withdrew  her  name  from  the  list  of  candidates  for  county  president, 
having  served  in  that  capacity  for  eight  consecutive  years.  Mrs.  Imogen 
Aten  served  as  county  vice-president  for  four  years.  Mrs.  Mae  Plush 
as  county  corresponding  secretary  three  years;  Mrs.  S.  T.  Bixby  as 
county  vice-president  for  two  years;  Mrs.  E.  Abbott  corresponding 
secretary  for  two  years ;  Mrs.  W.  Edgar  secretary  for  two  years ;  Mrs. 
Carrie  Rapp  vice  president  for  two  years ;  Mrs.  Lois  Hogan  secretary 
for  one  year;  Mrs.  M.  Carlisle  was  secretary  for  one  year;  Mrs.  M. 
Hoyt  secretary  one  year ;  Miss  Cote  corresponding  secretary  for  three 
years ;  Mrs.  Lizzie  Kramar  served  as  county  treasurer  for  nine  con- 
secutive years;  Mrs.  Imogen  Aten  served  as  county  president  for  one 
year  and  six  months,  Mrs.  Amande  Mackey  completing  the  year ;  Mrs. 
Wilson  county  treasurer  for  two  years;  Mrs.  Grace  Ruth,  present  in- 
cumbent ;  Mrs.  Webb,  corresponding  secretary,  present  incumbent ; 
Miss  Florence  Yarnell,  county  president  at  the  present  time. 

Work  for  soldiers  and  sailors  has  occupied  the  attention  of  every 
local  in  the  county  since  the  war  was  declared.  The  national  organiza- 
tion being  recognized  throughout  the  world,  assumed  her  quota  of  sol- 
diers' and  sailors'  supplies,  and  the  locals  throughout  the  nation  do 


WOMAN'S  CHRISTIAN  TEMPERANCE  UNION  261 

their  bit  making  bags  and  filling  them,  trench  torches  and  fuel  sticks, 
as  well  as  hospital  supplies.  The  last  great  move  was  an  ambulance 
drive,  the  local  furnishing  its  quota  of  money  to  the  state  of  war  sup- 
plies, and  then  collectively  have  raised  money  to  send  an  ambulance  to 
France,  fully  equipped  and  manned.  The  ambulance  is  dedicated  to 
our  boys  of  Imperial  County,  California,  by  the  Imperial  County  W.  C. 
T.  U.  of  Southern  California. 

Brawley  was  organized  January  20,  1906,  with  thirty-five  charter 
members,  by  Mrs.  L.  E.  Bailey,  New  York  City  national  W.  C.  T.  U. 
organizer,  the  first  president  being  C.  Angie  Miller.  The  first  philan- 
thropic act  was  to  install  a  watering  trough  on  the  street  for  thirsty 
horses ;  these  were  not  the  days  of  automobiles.  On  May  12,  1909,  the 
active  members  of  the  Brawley  W.  C.  T.  U.  completed  articles  of  in- 
corporation for  the  local  organization  and  incorporated  under  the  state 
laws  of  California  as  part  of  Southern  California  State  W.  C.  T.  U. 
The  same  year  a  business  lot  on  G  Street  in  the  heart  of  the  city  of 
Brawley  was  purchased  through  the  efforts  of  the  W.  C.  T.  U.  Dona- 
tions and  proceeds  of  a  two-day  flower  fair  furnished  the  finances. 
These  flower  fairs  became  an  annual  event  for  several  years,  sustain- 
ing a  free  reading  room  which  was  maintained  as  long  as  accommoda- 
tions could  be  obtained  in  the  city.  As  the  city  improved  the  W.  C.  T. 
U.  made  improvements  on  its  own  property,  such  as  sidewalks  and 
street  pavements,  preparatory  to  building.  A  board  of  trustees  is  an- 
nually elected  and  has  the  property  in  charge. 

Department  work  received  considerable  attention  from  the  first. 
Loyal  temperance  legion  and  young  people's  branches  were  organized. 

A  curfew  ordinance  was  introduced  by  the  W.  C.  T.  U.  and  went 
into  effect  in  the  year  of  1914  in  the  city  of  Brawley. 

Imperial  W.  C.  T.  U.  was  first  organized  in  1916,  disbanding  later. 
It  was  substantially  reorganized  in  April,  1913,  by  the  state  president, 
Mrs.  Blanchard,  with  thirty-six  charter  members,  Mrs.Amande  Mackey 
being  president.  The  liquor  interests  were  strong,  it  being  the  only  wet 
city  in  the  county,  but  this  brave  band  of  twenty-six  women  worked 
and  created  sentiment  until  they  were  one  hundred  and  thirty  strong, 
and  now  rejoice  to  know  that  liquor  has  been  voted  out  of  their  city. 

Calexico  W.  C.  T.  U.  is  located  on  the  Mexican  border,  and  has 
strong,  staunch  workers  who  are  doing  a  grand  work.  This  local  was 


262  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

organized  in  1906,  and  has  flourished  and  won  every  battle  toward 
keeping  Calexico  dry.  Soldiers'  and  sailors'  work  is  going  forward, 
they  furnishing  their  own  material  for  hospital  supplies.  The  depart- 
ment is  well  carried  out.  The  ambulance  drive  was  more  than  a  success. 

El  Centro  W.  C.  T.  U.  was  organized  in  El  Centro  in  November, 
1907,  by  Mae  Tongier,  with  Mrs.  Tuttle  as  the  first  president.  This 
local  was  the  first  organization  of  any  kind  in  the  place. 

Alamo  W.  C.  T.  U.  was  organized  by  Miss  Margaret  Wiley  in 
1907,  with  nine  charter  members,  at  the  Eastside  school  house,  Mrs. 
Linnie  Strain  being  the  first  president.  The  interest  created  was  due  to 
Mrs.  Martha  Hoyt's  influence.  This  little  band  did  a  grand  work  car- 
rying on  the  departments  of  the  county.  Medal  contests  was  a  special 
work.  Finally  the  members  moved  to  Holtville  and  united  with  the 
local  W.  C.  T.  U.  there. 

Silsbee  Union  was  organized  by  Mrs.  Mae  Tongier  with  a  member- 
ship of  sixteen  charter  members,  and  became  a  part  of  Imperial  County 
Union  when  it  was  organized  in  1907.  Mrs.  Fannie  Harding  was  the 
first  president.  Being  a  country  union,  the  principal  work  was  encour- 
aging sentiment  for  bone-dry  prohibition,  and  educating  young  people 
to  take  a  firm  stand  for  that  that  is  best  in  life.  Two  other  unions,  Mc- 
Cabe  and  Seeley,  were  organized,  drawing  on  Silsbee  for  membership. 
Then  various  causes  drew  away  so  many  members  that  the  interest 
waned  until  the  ambitious  little  union  lost  courage  and  disbanded  in 
1916,  trusting  that  the  influence  of  this  work  may  not  altogether  be  lost. 

Heber  W.  C.  T.  U.  was  organized  December  15,  1913,  by  Mrs.  Mary 
Coman,  editor  of  the  State  W.  C.  T.  U.  paper,  with  sixteen  members  in 
roll,  Mrs.  Angeline  Courtney  being  the  first  president.  This  small  band 
has  been  faithful,  carrying  on  the  department  work  suited  to  their  lo- 
cality, beside  meeting  all  county  demands,  and  doing  much  effective 
campaign  work  for  the  California  drive. 

Holtville  W.  C.  T.  U.  was  organized  in  1909  by  C.  Angie  Miller, 
county  president,  Mrs.  Martha  Hoyt  being  the  first  president.  The 
scripture  lesson  was  read  from  the  Bible  by  an  old  crusader,  Mr.  Walter 
Chaney's  mother.  The  second  year  the  membership  was  double ;  it 
readily  grew  until  it  was  at  one  time  the  largest  in  the  county.  This 
strong  union  was  a  power  in  Imperial  County  and  always  ready  to  lead ; 
in  essay  work  this  union  took  the  first  prize  in  the  county.  Later  Mary 


WOMAN'S  CHRISTIAN  TEMPERANCE  UNION  263 

Thompson  received  a  state  prize  of  twenty  dollars  for  the  best  essay 
in  the  state  written  by  the  high  school  students. 

Seeley  W.  C.  T.  U.  was  organized  March  3,  1914,  with  ten  live,  ac- 
tive charter  members.  Mrs.  Minnie  Hull  was  the  first  president  and 
served  four  consecutive  years.  An  active  Loyal  Temperance  Legion,  an 
organization  for  the  children,  at  one  time  was  their  ideal.  Much  live 
work  has  been  done  and  now  in  war  times  they  are  doing  soldiers'  and 
sailors'  work,  liberally  furnishing  their  own  material. 

McCabe  W.  C.  T.  U.  was  organized  at  the  McCabe  school  house  by 
Mrs.  Eva  C.  Wheeler,  with  Mrs.  Thayer  as  the  first  president. 

Calipatria  W.  C.  T.  U.  was'added  to  the  list  in  1918,  being  organized 
by  Hester  Griffith,  state  vice-president,  and  Miss  Florence  Yarnell, 
county  president. 

During  the  two  years  1915-1917  the  special  object  sought  by  the 
county  president  was  better  legislation.  The  legislators  were  showered 
with  letters,  cards  and  telegrams.  Much  that  was  encouraging  was 
gained ;  an  effort  was  made  to  prohibit  liquor  near  irrigation  near 
Mexican  soil,  as  this  is  a  source  of  existence  in  Imperial  Valley.  Thus, 
while  we  may  be  deemed  small  among  the  force  of  righteousness,  the 
moral  uplift  of  Imperial  County  would  certainly  have  been  much  less 
had  the  W.  C.  T.  U.  had  no  participation  in  it.  An  ambulance  to  our 
soldier  boys  even  nationally  is  not  regarded  as  such  a  small  thing,  and 
especially  by  our  boys  themselves,  when  exposed  to  the  terrors  of  war. 
Whatever  has  been  sent  to  the  front  has  been  clean  and  pure.  There 
are  no  reports  of  death  from  the  surgeon  general  caused  by  anything 
being  sent  by  the  W.  C.  T.  U.  Their  influence  is  certainly  not  without 
its  weight  on  the  rising  generation.  Many  of  our  children  will  yet  rise 
and  thank  their  Maker — "My  mother  was  a  member  of  the  Imperial 
County  W.  C.  T.  U.  and  gave  me  my  first  lessons  on  sobriety  and  tem- 
perance and  saved  me  from  the  blighting  effects  of  alcoholic  com- 
pounds. While  her  noontide  prayer  often  presented  me  to  the  throne  of 
Heavenly  Grace."  It  is  thus  this  moral  uplift  must  go  on,  and  on,  until 
not  only  our  county  and  state  is  redeemed  from  this  Dark  Damnation 
Drink,  but  our  nation  and  the  world  is  free  from  its  blighting  influence, 
and  we  all  join  the  angelic  song  and  sing,  the  kingdom  of  this  world 
has  become  the  "kingdom  of  our  God  and  His  Christ;  and  He  shall 
reign  for  ever  and  ever." 


CHAPTER  XX 

IMPERIAL 
BY  EDGAR  F.  HOWE 

To  those  who  know,  the  city  of  Imperial  always  must  remain  in  mind 
as  a  landmark  in  important  history.  I  see  the  town  in  fancy  now  as  it 
was  in  1901,  crudely  constructed  of  canvas  or  rough  lumber  by  amateur 
workmen,  and  possessing  no  touch  of  art  or  grace,  its  three  frame 
buildings,  two  score  of  tents  and  a  half  dozen  ramadas.or  walled  struc- 
tures, surmounted  by  thatch  of  arrow-weed. 

Such  was  the  town  which  first  appeared  in  the  heart  of  the  Colorado 
Desert,  when  not  another  habitation  existed  within  sixty  miles.  Lone- 
some? Forlorn?  Forbidding?  Yes,  all  of  these,  but  if  anyone  fancies  the 
"natives,"  as  the  new-come  pioneers  called  themselves,  played  soccer 
ball  with  chunks  of  grief,  he  is  mistaken,  for  never  then  was  there  a 
grievance  but  became  a  joke,  and  the  stifled  sob  developed  into  laughter. 

No  green  thing  but  the  tawny  scant  vegetation  of  the  desert  was  to  be 
found  for  many  miles,  and  only  the  stub-tail  end  of  the  "town  ditch," 
down  which  twice  a  week  water  was  turned  from  the  new  main  canal 
a  dozen  miles  away,  gave  sign  of  connection  with  the  outer  world. 

Roads  there  were  none,  and  individual  wagon  tracks, numerous  and  de- 
vious in  direction,  formed  a  bewildering  puzzle  to  one  who  sought  them 
as  a  guide. 

Far  away  in  every  direction  the  mystic  aridity  stretched  like  one 
scene  from  the  inferno  that  Dante  had  overlooked. 

Yet  there  were  compensations.  The  air  was  free  and  boundless.  The 
skies  revealed  a  transparency  and  a  depth  of  glorious  blue  which  seemed 
to  reveal  all  eternity,  and  more  stars  shone  upon  those  brave  pioneers 
than  were  ever  seen  before  by  human  eye. 

The  sunrises  and  sunsets  of  that  dry  desert  air  gave  tones  of  graded 
coloring  that  were  not  all  subdued,  for  from  the  ashen  and  chocolate 
mountains  and  the  yellow  haze  the  color  scheme  ascended  through 


IMPERIAL  265 

blues  and  pinks  and  greens  to  royal  purple,  fringed  with  gold  and 
scarlet. 

And  the  mirage  was  there,  was  there  in  all  possible  sublimity,  always 
lending  its  charm  and  mysticism,  contorting  the  mountains  into  gro- 
tesque forms  and  transforming  distant  tents  into  sails  of  vessels  mov- 
ing placidly  over  peaceful  waters.  So  regularly  did  several  fea- 
tures of  the  mirage  appear  from  sunrise  to  sunset  that  the  versed 
"native"  could  almost  utilize  them  in  lieu  of  a  sun  dial.  Of  these  the  two 
most  conspicuous  forms  were  known  as  "The  Battle-Ship"  and  "The 
Golden  Gate." 

The  former  was  the  false  refraction  of  light  that  at  10  each  morning 
lifted  the  Black  Buttes,  in  Mexico,  above  the  horizon,  presenting  a  ves- 
sel upon  the  water  with  turrets  and  masts,  and  a  preposterously  long 
gun  reaching  out  above  the  prow. 

"Golden  Gate"  was  the  expanse  of  mirage  that  spread  its  waters  be- 
tween the  Cucupa  and  Santa  Catarina  mountains,  with  Signal  Moun- 
tain rising  as  Alcatraz  Island,  and  when  this  scene  was  caught  with 
tents  to  give  the  sail  effect  the  presentment  of  Golden  Gate  was  com- 
plete and  realistic. 

Stretching  out  from  the  town  in  all  directions,  tents  were  beginning 
to  appear  as  "claims"  were  filed  upon,  and  as  desolate  looking  as  the 
town  was  in  some  of  its  aspects,  I  know  for  a  fact  that  its  small  group 
of  lights  twinkling  in  the  clear  night  air  across  the  barren  expanse  was 
to  more  than  one  pioneer  as  a  star  of  hope  and  of  destiny. 

Reference  is  made  above  to  the  three  frame  buildings,  the  only  ones 
within  many  miles.  Of  these  one  was  a  church,  another  a  store  and  the 
third  a  printing  office,  the  latter  now  the  sole  remaining  remnant  of  the 
earliest  days. 

Life  was  so  primitive  that  when  the  first  rocking  chair  appeared  in 
the  town  it  was  a  matter  of  remark,  and  many  sought  to  share  its  com- 
fort. 

Who  were  these  pioneers  who  dared  the  desert  in  its  crudity?  They 
were,  almost  without  exception,  of  that  race  which  has  staked  the 
American  frontier  from  the  days  when  the  first  settlers  moved  out  into 
the  Connecticut  and  Mohawk  valleys.  These  individuals  had  tarried  in 
Kansas,  Missouri,  Oklahoma,  Arizona  and  California.  There  were  not 
many  of  the  cowboy  type,  whom  Frederick  Remington  called  "Men 


266  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

with  the  bark  on."  Many  more  of  them  were  persons  of  culture  despite 
their  love  of  the  boundless  out-of-doors. 

"Is  there  no  place  I  can  sleep  tonight?"  asked  a  tenderfoot  on  learn- 
ing that  the  tent-house  hotel  was  filled. 

"Why,  yes,"  said  a  "native,"  "here  are  five  million  acres,"  and  to  him 
to  sleep  in  the  open  was  nothing  out  of  the  routine  of  life. 

But  some  of  the  scenes  were  pathetic,  for  most  of  those  who  came  to 
the  land  of  promise  had  been  accustomed  to  some  of  the  comforts  and 
conveniences  of  life,  and  with  the  few  women  who  came  to  help  hew  a 
piece  of  destiny  out  of  the  raw  material  one  sometimes  caught  a  glimpse 
of  a  tear  on  a  face  set  with  fortitude. 

Then  there  were  the  covered  wagon,  the  small  equipment  of  farm 
implements,  and  usually  a  larger  equipment  of  children.  The  tired  horses 
had  been  driven  from  Arizona  or  Oklahoma  or  Missouri,  or  from  the 
coast  section  of  California,  and  the  whole  aggregation  of  brute  and 
human  and  inanimate  objects  was  disconsolate  looking  enough. 

Heavy  freight  teams,  many  with  from  a  dozen  to  a  score  of  mules, 
came  dragging  into  town  from  the  main  line  of  the  railroad,  thirty-five 
miles  away,  after  two  days  on  the  road,  for  that  was  the  base  of  supply 
for  all  essentials  of  life  in  those  days  before  production. 

Three  times  a  week  the  stage  crept  in,  the  dusty  passengers  crawled 
out,  gazed  about  and  said,  "Well,  is  this  it?"  It  required  one  with  poetic 
inspiration  to  see  the  vision  of  the  future  and  to  "give  to  airy  nothings 
a  local  habitation  and  a  name,"  and  not  all  men  are  poets.  But  as  poetry 
is  not  words  but  vision,  more  are  poets  than  is  generally  thought,  and 
they  remained,  and  the  next  week  they  too  were  "natives." 

And  speaking  of  airy  things  recalls  the  wind.  Men  of  scientific  mind 
years  before  had  urged  the  turning  of  the  Colorado  River  into  the 
Salton  Sink,  that  the  evaporation  there  might  nullify  the  vacuum  condi- 
tion of  the  desert,  which  was  credited  with  causing  the  north  winds  of 
the  coast.  The  irrigation  of  the  Valley  has  wrought  that  change.  The 
winds  here,  as  we  knew  them  then,  have  become  a  thing  of  the  past. 
But  in  those  primal  days,  at  least  two  days  in  every  week,  all  the  demon 
winds  of  the  earth  held  their  assemblies  here,  and  vied  with  each  other 
in  bringing  abject  terror  to  many  and  dismay  to  all.  Day  and  night  they 
went  howling  past  with  an  exhibit  of  force  that  it  seemed  nothing  could 


IMPERIAL  267 

withstand,  and  the  parched,  cut-up  desert  simply  lifted  in  sheets  through 
which  sight  could  not  penetrate  a  dozen  feet.  With  all  objects  blotted 
from  vision,  even  the  horses  one  drove,  the  traveler  had  no  guide  but 
the  direction  of  the  wind. 

And  winter  passed  and  summer  came,  blistering  heat  bent  down  re- 
morselessly. There  were  no  electric  lights  or  fans.  There  was  no  ice. 
Nothing  that  was  perishable  could  be  brought  in.  There  was  no  milk, 
no  eggs,  no  butter,  no  fresh  fruit  or  vegetables  or  meat.  You  could  take 
your  choice  between  ditch  water  in  which  the  animalcula  were  abun- 
dant, canned  goods  that  frequently  went  off  like  guns  in  the  stores  as 
they  exploded  with  heat,  and  bacon  and  flapjacks. 

The  heat  of  that  summer  was  something  to  read  about  rather  than 
experience,  and  the  writer  may  now  as  well  publicly  confess  that  when 
the  thermometer  reached  126  one  day  and  threatened  to  break  the 
world  record  of  127,  he  found  the  coolest  place  obtainable  for  the  in- 
strument for  the  remainder  of  the  day. 

The  evaporation  of  something  like  a  hundred  billion  cubic  feet  of 
water  a  year  has  brought  about  a  reduction  in  maximum  temperature 
of  about  fifteen  degrees,  and  a  raise  of  minimum  winter  temperature 
of  practically  as  much,  besides  dispensing  with  the  winds. 

By  slow  stages  the  country  about  became  inhabited  and  the  town  re- 
sponded. Some  person  drove  a  buggy  into  town  and  that  caused  as 
much  comment  as  the  later  arrival  of  the  first  automobile. 

Finally  a  brick-yard  appeared,  ushering  in  a  new  era  for  the  Valley, 
with  more  secure  construction  and  more  pleasing  aspect. 

Early  in  the  history  of  the  town  there  came  a  business  block  with 
arcade— the  second  story  projecting  over  the  sidewalk — and  there  was 
set  the  type  of  structure  which  henceforth  was  to  prevail  in  all  the 
business  sections  of  Valley  towns. 

Here,  too,  there  was  first  manifest  the  one  great  extravagance  of  the 
Valley,  schools  of  most  superior  character  compared  with  other  im- 
provements. The  grammar  school,  first  to  appear,  was  a  neat  brick 
structure,  and  not  long  afterwards  there  was  built  the  first  high  school 
building,  at  a  cost  of  $65,000,  the  edifice  being  of  a  character  which 
would  have  been  creditable  in  a  century-old  town  of  10,000  persons. 

The  railroad  branch  coming  down  from  the  main  line  through  the 
Valley,  and  for  a  time  having  a  terminus  here,  brought  a  great  change 


268  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

into  the  lives  of  the  people  and  marked  the  end  of  the  real  pioneer  life 
of  the  people,  for  an  ice  factory,  electric  plant  and  other  modern  insti- 
tutions were  growing  up. 

Pavements  in  time  hid  the  dust  of  the  main  thoroughfares,  and  Im- 
perial, changed  in  outward  form  and  much  in  the  spirit  of  the  people, 
had  become  a  modern  municipality. 


<   o 


CHAPTER  XXI 
CALEXICO 

BY  F.  W.  ROACH 

Long  before  the  present  generation  was  born  it  was  ordained  that 
Calexico  should  exist,  and  that  Calexico  should  become  the  capital  of 
a  great  inland  empire.  The  plans  that  fate  laid  are  being  fulfilled,  and 
the  hopes  of  those  who  have  watched  the  city's  growth  with  pride  and 
joy  are  being  fulfilled  in  a  measure  beyond  their  most  sanguine  expec- 
tations. 

Climate,  soil,  abundance  of  life-giving  water,  sunshine  every  day  in 
the  year,  accessibility  to  markets  and  geographical  location,  all  com- 
bine to  encourage  and  promote  the  agricultural,  horticultural  and  stock- 
raising  industries  that  are  growing  steadily  year  by  year,  enriching 
thousands  of  enterprising  men  who  have  been  attracted  to  the  section 
of  country  immediately  surrounding  Calexico,  drawn  by  the  exception- 
al opportunities  offered  as  an  inducement  to  greatest  effort.  Gradually 
the  desert  has  been  reclaimed;  year  by  year  canals  and  laterals  have 
crept  across  its  face,  and  carried  water  to  the  arid  acres  that  ceased  to 
be  arid,  and  began  producing  crops  of  cotton,  corn,  alfalfa,  small  grains 
of  all  kinds,  vegetables,  melons  and  fruit,  with  an  abundance  of  forage 
crops  for  the  herds  and  flocks  that  have  become  famous  for  their  size 
and  high  grade.  The  great  ranches  and  plantations  that  came  with  the 
first  efforts  at  settling  and  reclaiming  the  land  have  been  divided  and 
sub-divided,  each  partition  bringing  more  settlers,  more  workers  and 
more  citizens  to  a  happy  and  prosperous  Valley.  Settlements  grew  to 
towns,  and  towns  to  cities,  Calexico,  the  metropolis  by  right  of  birth, 
grew  more  rapidly  than  the  rest,  and  now  is  entering  upon  a  new  and 
its  most  remarkable  period  of  development.  At  the  beginning  of  the 
year  1918  a  carefully  prepared  census  showed  the  population  to  be  a 
little  in  excess  of  4000. 

Calexico  originated  in  1901,  when  the  California  Development  Com- 
pany established  engineering  headquarters  near  the  international  boun- 


270 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


dary  line  between  California  and  the  Mexican  state  of  Baja  California, 
or  Lower  California.  This  was  on  the  east  bank  of  New  River.  The 
offices  of  the  company  consolidated  with  settlers  in  forming  the  little 
settlement  just  north  of  the  line  in  California.  In  1903  the  townsite  was 
plotted  and  laid  out  in  lots.  The  rich,  productive  soil  around  the  town 
was  the  first  in  the  Imperial  Valley  to  be  irrigated  and  improved,  and 
the  results  proved  the  belief  of  the  pioneers  that  only  the  well  directed 
efforts  of  man  were  needed  to  bring  wealth  and  prosperity.  The  country 
immediately  tributary  includes  the  productive  section  on  the  west 
known  as  District  No.  6,  containing  many  of  the  largest  and  most  pro- 
ductive ranches  in  the  Valley ;  District  No.  7,  adjoining  the  town  on  the 
east,  and  on  the  south  thousands  upon  thousands  of  acres  of  the  richest 
land  in  Baja  California,  which  are  leased  from  their  Mexican  owners 
and  devoted  largely  to  the  production  of  cotton  and  live-stock. 

Incorporated  as  a  city  of  the  sixth  class  in  April,  1908,  Calexico  has 
advanced  steadily  towards  metropolitanism,  and  today  it  presents  a 
pleasing  and  often  surprising  appearance  to  those  who  visit  it  for  the 
first  time.  Money  raised  by  the  issuance  of  bonds,  beginning  with  an 
issue  of  $20,000  in  1909,  has  been  wisely  expended  in  paving  the 
streets,  building  wide,  substantial  concrete  walks,  providing  a  water 
system  that  is  not  excelled  in  the  West,  and  a  sewer  system  adequate  for 
a  city  of  many  times  its  present  size.  In  the  heart  of  the  city  a  tract  of 
land  was  reserved  for  a  park  and  civic  center.  This  is  being  improved 
and  will  in  time  be  one  of  the  most  beautiful  recreation  grounds  to  be 
found  in  the  State.  The  Calexico  Union  High  School,  a  magnificent 
building  with  numerous  smaller  buildings  grouped  about  it,  and  the 
Carnegie  Library,  are  located  in  this  center,  and  in  time  it  will  contain 
the  city  hall,  fire  station  and  other  municipal  buildings,  and  doubtless 
the  federal  offices  that  will  be  required  to  take  care  of  the  growing 
business  incidental  to  an  important  port  of  entry  and  border  city.  For 
two  years  the  imports  through  the  port  of  Calexico  have  exceeded  those 
of  Los  Angeles,  San  Diego  and  Tia  Juana  combined. 

Since  it  was  discovered  a  few  years  ago  that  the  Imperial  Valley  was 
adapted  to  the  growth  of  cotton,  this  crop  has  been  the  leading  one  in 
both  that  portion  of  the  Valley  lying  north  of  the  boundary  line,  and  on 
the  Mexican  lands  leased  and  cultivated  by  Americans.  The  first  crop 
of  the  Valley  was  sold  to  one  big  cotton  mill  for  $25,000.  That  was 


CALEXICO 


271 


about  seven  years  ago ;  conservative  estimates  place  the  value  of  the 
1918  crop  of  cotton  in  the  Imperial  Valley  at  $13,000,000.  The  produc- 
tion this  year  will  not  be  far  short  of  65,000  bales.  The  quality  of  the 
cotton  is  unsurpassed,  and  buyers  from  all  over  the  world  are  in  com- 
petition for  the  Imperial  Valley  product.  The  gins  of  Calexico  and  her 
twin  city,  Mexicali,  and  the  cotton  compress  located  in  the  former,  pro- 
vide employment  for  many  skilled  laborers. 

Among  some  of  the  other  agricultural  products  are  milo  maize,  broom 
corn,  rye,  barley,  alfalfa,  rice  and  hemp.  Sudan  grass  is  gaining  in 
popularity  as  a  forage  crop. 

The  cantaloupe  industry  is  one  of  greatest  importance  to  Calexico. 
For  about  six  weeks  in  the  summer  the  cantaloupe  sheds  are  the  busiest 
section  of  the  city.  Last  year  more  than  4000  cars  of  the  finest  melons 
produced  in  the  United  States  were  forwarded  to  the  Eastern  and  coast 
markets,  the  earliest  shipments  reaching  New  York,  Boston  and  Wash- 
ington nearly  two  weeks  in  advance  of  those  of  any  other  section  of 
the  country.  The  lettuce  grown  on  the  ranches  around  Calexico,  shipped 
in  iced  cars  by  express,  is  also  the  first  grown  out  of  doors  to  reach  the 
tables  of  the  Easterners,  and  is  not  surpassed  in  quality  and  appearance. 

Calexico's  claims  to  being  the  metropolis  of  the  wonderful  new  in- 
land empire  are  based  on  the  fact  that  the  city  is  located  in  the  heart  of 
a  district  that  is  the  greatest  in  America  in  the  following  respects:  It 
has  the  largest  cantaloupe  acreage,  largest  honey  production,  largest 
ostrich  farm,  largest  alfalfa  acreage,  largest  irrigated  cotton  acreage, 
largest  unit  irrigation  project,  largest  pumice  mine,  greatest  turkey  pro- 
duction, largest  farm  production  per  acre,  and  largest  average  cotton 
yield. 


CHAPTER  XXII 

BRAWLEY 
BY  B.  F.  MORRIS 

The  history  of  Brawley,  the  most  productive  area  and  largest  produce 
shipping  point  in  the  State,  extends  down  through  a  period  of  eighteen 
years,  in  which  its  transition  from  a  barren  desert  to  a  zone  of  almost 
marvelous  fertility,  has  been  accomplished  without  hindrance  through 
crop  failure,  pestilence  or  other  disaster. 

From  a  single  brush  wickiup  in  1901  has  grown  the  prosperous  and 
well  built  city  of  5000  inhabitants,  enjoying  the  benefits  of  every  essen- 
tial modern  public  utility,  and  prosperous  beyond  the  dreams  of  its 
most  hopeful  projectors. 

Brawley  today  is  the  center  of  the  greatest  proven  producing  area 
in  the  United  States — a  claim  sustained  by  its  annual  record  of  produce 
shipments,  and  its  accredited  rank  as  the  second  shipping  point  in  the 
State  of  California.  The  almost  marvelous  fertility  of  its  soil  is  equaled 
by  the  diversity  of  crops  which  mature  perfectly  and  yield  abundantly 
in  response  to  practical  farming  processes.  Nature  withholds  no  good 
thing  from  the  practical  farmer,  and  two  or  even  three  crops  will  ma- 
ture within  a  single  unbroken  year  of  365  days  in  which  the  Brawley 
farmer  may  continue  his  farming  operations. 

Fruits,  citrus  and  deciduous,  dates,  olives,  grapes,  melons,  cotton, 
corn  and  all  cereals,  alfalfa  and  all  vegetables  yield  in  the  most  lavish 
abundance,  and  are  first  of  spring  products  on  the  Eastern  market. 

Brawley  lettuce,  spinach,  peas,  cantaloupes,  watermelons,  tomatoes 
and  grapes  are  first  to  mature  and  command  highest  price  in  the  East- 
ern markets.  The  grower  in  this  section  takes  no  hazard  on  a  harvest. 
Crop  failures  and  parasites  that  destroy  or  minimize  crop  returns  are  un- 
known here,  and  the  calendar  year  is  one  continuous  round  of  seed  time 
and  harvest.  In  no  section  of  the  State  does  Nature  respond  more  liber- 
ally to  the  touch  of  toil  with  a  greater  assurance  of  a  harvest  as  a  re- 
ward of  properly  directed  energy. 

The  abundance  of  all-the-year-around  forage  and  favorable  weather 


BRAWLEY 


273 


conditions  make  this  an  ideal  section  for  stock  growing  and  dairying, 
particularly  the  latter,  in  which  the  Brawley  district  surpasses  any  other 
section  of  the  Valley  and  the  State  of  California.  The  Valley  supplies 
Los  Angeles  with  20,000  pounds  of  butter  daily,  and  if  required  could 
grow  all  of  the  live-stock  necessary  to  sustain  the  southern  half  of  the 
State.  The  profits  of  stock  growing  is  enormous  and  that  of  dairying 
scarcely  less.  Of  the  total  area  of  320,000  acres  of  irrigated  land  in  the 
Imperial  Valley  100,000  is  in  alfalfa,  125,000  in  milo  maize  and  50,000 
in  barley.  The  cotton  acreage  will  not  exceed  90,000. 

Brawley  is  the  shipping  center  of  a  producing  area  of  160,000  acres 
of  the  most  productive  land  in  the  Imperial  Valley,  and  aside  from  cot- 
ton is  the  producing  center  of  the  Valley. 

In  the  volume  of  its  vegetable  products  Brawley  surpasses  by  far  any 
other  section  of  the  Valley.  Of  the  4400  cars  of  cantaloupes  shipped  out 
last  season  almost  3000  were  from  Brawley  district,  and  2501  from 
Brawley  station  direct.  The  shipments  of  lettuce  from  the  Valley  this 
season  aggregated  about  385  cars,  of  which  Brawley  shipped  279  cars. 

Little  cause  can  be  found  for  criticism  of  a  climate  that  invariably 
matures  a  crop,  and  in  some  instances  two  and  even  three  crops,  and  in 
a  single  season  without  failure.  There  are  but  two  seasons — winter  and 
summer,  and  not  much  of  either,  the  two  merging  closely  into  each 
other.  The  temperature  seldom  drops  below  30  degrees,  and  while  it 
soars  to  112  at  times  during  the  summer,  this  temperature  is  attended 
by  no  humidity  and  is  not  hurtful,  the  heat  being  equal  to  about  90  de- 
grees in  the  east.  The  rainfall  is  less  than  two  inches  annually  and 
could  be  spared  altogether. 

The  climate  is  especially  beneficial  to  rheumatic  and  ashmatic  pa- 
tients, in  many  cases  effecting  a  radical  cure  of  both  within  six  months. 
No  malarial  or  other  antagonistic  element  has  ever  been  recorded  here. 
Children  are  rugged  and  healthy  and  the  prevailing  standard  of  public 
health  is  far  above  the  average. 

Including  a  magnificent  $70,000  high  school  building,  a  grammar 
school  building  recently  erected  at  a  cost  of  $35,000,  a  splendid  manual 
training  system,  three  lesser  school  buildings  and  a  parochial  school, 
with  a  large  attendance  and  perfect  equipment,  no  city  in  any  State  has 
better  schools  nor  a  more  capable  educational  staff  for  every  branch  of 
modern  education,  from  the  kindergarten  to  the  advanced  system. 


CHAPTER  XXIII 
HOLTVILLE 

BY  JOHN  BAKER 

This  picturesque  little  city  built  from  the  cactus  and  mesquite  and 
desert  soil  into  one  of  the  most  beautiful  of  the  lovely  towns  fringing 
the  Western  Valley  of  the  Nile,  is  one  of  the  most  prosperous  and  at- 
tractive of  Imperial  Valley,  and  very  properly  entitled  to  its  cognomen, 
"The  Gem  City." 

Holtville  was  given  its  charter  in  1903,  and  since  that  time  the 
growth  has  been  steady,  and  the  residents  who  have  come  to  this  es- 
pecially rich  and  fertile  section  of  the  great  desert  country  are  now 
more  than  reaping  the  results  that  always  follow  the  arduous  workings 
and  efforts  of  the  pioneer.  Only  fifteen  years  old,  this  beautiful  town 
is  forging  ahead,  and  paved,  well  lighted  streets  will  be  the  culmination 
of  the  Commercial  Club's  dream  and  efforts  in  the  very  near  future.  It 
is  generally  conceded  that  Holtville  is  the  prettiest  town  of  the  many 
that  have  made  the  great  Imperial  Valley  famous  throughout  the  United 
States  and  the  world.  This  great  beauty  is  due  to  the  many  trees  that 
border  the  streets,  giant  palms,  peppers  and  cottonwood  trees  making 
most  grateful  shade  and  relief  from  the  glare  of  the  summer  sun. 

Situated  at  the  eastern  boundary  of  the  Valley,  with  a  population 
now  reaching  considerably  over  the  fifteen  hundred  mark,  Holtville  is 
now  among  the  foremost  dairying  sections  in  the  world.  Alfalfa 
ranches  are  everywhere  testifying  to  the  great  fertility  and  productive- 
ness of  the  hundred  thousand  acres  or  more,  which  are  tributary  to  the 
town.  Not  only  have  cattle  and  dairying  industries  formed  an  impor- 
tant factor  in  the  growth  of  this  particular  locality  and  the  calling  in 
of  many  of  the  most  expert  ranchers  of  the  east  and  middle  west,  but 
hog  raising,  which  is  one  of  the  most  profitable  industries  in  the  world 
today,  and  at  this  writing  one  of  the  most  timely,  has  reached  the  pin- 
nacle of  its  development  here.  And  in  this  connection  it  is  only  fitting 
that  mention  should  be  made  of  the  wonderful  work  that  is  being  ac- 


HOLTVILLE 


275 


complished  by  the  pupils  of  the  high  school  and  the  grammar  schools 
of  Holtville  under  the  careful  guidance  of  their  teachers  in  the  building 
up  of  Pig  Clubs.  These  clubs  have  stimulated  lavishly  the  interest  in 
raising  of  pigs  and  hogs  by  the  sons  and  daughters  of  the  ranchers, 
and  some  exceptional  results  have  been  obtained  by  these  embryo 
farmers  and  farm-women. 

In  the  cattle  raising  industry,  one  of  the  great  commercial  features 
that  has  placed  this  city  in  the  front  ranks  is  the  production  of  butter. 
A  large  percentage  of  the  most  successful  farmers  of  this  section  can 
trace  their  rise  to  the  first  string  of  cows  with  which  they  started  out 
in  the  dairying  business.  The  wonderful  creamery  which  was  estab- 
lished in  Holtville  a  few  years  ago,  and  which  has  been  added  to  and 
improved  as  conditions  warranted,  is  pointed  to  with  pride  by  every 
person  showing  the  prospective  resident  about  the  country.  Hundreds  of 
thousands  of  pounds  of  butter  are  shipped  monthly  from  this  district, 
and  the  average  daily  output  of  butter  alone  from  the  Holtville  Co-op- 
erative Creamery  is  over  three  thousand  pounds.  Scientific  cattle  rais- 
ing, which  implies  the  raising  of  the  best  stocks,  and  the  culling  of  all 
unprofitable  "boarders  from  among  the  strings,"  has  resulted  in  dairy- 
ing and  cattle  raising  reaching  a  marvelous  point  of  success  here. 

The  agricultural  survey  is  developed  to  a  point  quite  as  successful 
as  are  the  other  branches  of  the  farming  industry  in  the  Imperial  Val- 
ley. Wonderful  crops  of  asparagus,  okra,  lettuce,  spinach,  and  all  sorts 
of  garden  truck  are  grown  here,  and  one  of  the  local  men  claims  to 
have  made  a  thousand  dollars  an  acre  from  the  growing  of  cucumbers 
sent  out  to  meet  the  demand  of  an  early  and  epicurean  eastern  market. 
These  cucumbers  are  also  sent  to  the  northern  part  of  the  state,  and 
tomatoes  are  another  delicacy  that  delights  the  palate  of  the  epicurean 
sent  out  from  this  vicinity  as  early  as  the  first  of  February. 

At  the  present  time  Holtville  is  experiencing  an  unusual  boom,  ow- 
ing, probably,  to  the  likelihood  of  the  opening  at  a  near  distant  date  of 
the  wonder  lands  on  the  east  side  mesa,  which  are  regarded  as  the  most 
favored,  naturally,  of  any  lands  in  the  whole  Imperial  Valley.  The  open- 
ing of  this  vast  and  fertile  section  will  mean  the  ingress  of  hundreds 
of  wide-awake,  progressive  ranchers  from  all  parts  of  the  United 
States,  and  will  result  in  a  phenomenal  growth  of  the  city  itself,  which 
is  the  logical  shopping  district  for  the  entire  east  side.  The  growing  of 


276  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

cotton  has  been  marvelously  successful  during  the  past  three  years.  It 
is  now  past  the  experimental  stage  entirely,  and  great  profits  have  been 
attained  by  those  who  have  taken  a  chance  on  this  industry.  There  arc 
several  cotton  gins  here,  and  the  building  of  a  co-operative  gin  this 
year  is  one  of  the  projects  that  is  already  financed  by  some  of  the  most 
substantial  farmers  here.  The  wonderful  fertility  of  the  soil  permits  of 
crops  more  varied  than  in  any  other  section  of  the  world,  and  among 
the  other  profitable  crops  grown  must  be  placed  the  different  grains, 
and  corn.  Great  cjuantities  of  corn  are  raised  here,  and  are  always  sure 
of  a  ready  market,  on  account  of  the  hog  industry  particularly.  The 
day  of  the  large  land  holder  has  steadily  been  on  the  wane,  and  today 
Holtville  owes  much  of  the  steady  growth  of  its  prosperity  to  the  fact 
that  land  holders  are  now  possessors  usually  of  less  than  two  hundred 
acres  at  the  most,  which  results  in  better  business  for  the  town's  trades- 
people, and  in  better  results  to  the  rancher  who  is  no  longer  burdened 
with  more  land  than  he  can  successfully  cultivate. 

Holtville  itself  is  one  of  the  most  progressive  cities  to  be  found  in 
an  agricultural  district  anywhere.  The  churches  and  the  schools  are 
a  credit  to  her  enterprise.  The  schools  are  looked  upon  with  amaze- 
ment by  the  newcomers  and  visitors,  who  express  surprise  that  schools 
are  established  here  that  rank  favorably  with  schools  anywhere  else  in 
the  state,  under  the  most  capable  supervision  and  instruction,  and  that 
they  are  accredited  to  all  of  the  universities.  Holtville  is  likely  prouder 
of  its  school  system  which  is  regarded  as  one  of  the  most  perfeect  in 
the  southern  part  of  the  state  than  of  any  other  feature  of  its  civic  life. 

Of  the  churches  it  may  be  said  that  there  are  six,  of  as  many  denom- 
inations, all  seemingly  prosperous  and  flourishing. 

There  are  a  number  of  clubs  and  fraternal  organizations  in  the  city 
and  a  woman's  club,  which  is  distinguished  for  its  public-spiritedness 
and  its  interest  in  every  project  of  civic  betterment.  A  woman's  club 
house  will  likely  be  considered  before  a  great  while,  and  when  com- 
pleted will  fill  an  important  need. 

The  City  Hall  is  an  institution  of  which  Holtville  is  inordinately 
proud.  It  stands  on  record  as  being  the  only  building  of  its  kind  erected 
solely  by  public  subscription  in  the  United  States.  It  is  a  handsome 
structure  of  mission  style,  and  reflects  the  greatest  possible  credit  on 
the  liberality  of  the  citizens  who  made  such  &  building  possible.  In  this 


HOLTVILLE 


277 


work  the  woman's  club  took  a  prominent  part  in  the  securing  of  funds 
and  much  of  the  credit  for  the  work  belongs  to  their  enterprise  and 
perseverance. 

The  latest  step  along  the  lines  of  progress  has  been  the  voting  of 
bonds  for  sewer  outputs  and  paving.  The  latter  means  one  of  the  most 
necessary  and  important  movements  that  the  citizens  have  ever  taken 
up ;  it  will  result  in  increased  prosperity  and  immeasurable  satisfaction. 

There  are  two  flourishing  banks  in  Holtville — the  First  National  and 
the  Holtville  Bank,  of  which  the  latter  is  the  newer,  and  which  is  gain- 
ing steadily  in  public  favor. 

The  shopping  district  of  Holtville,  while  small,  is  comprehensive, 
and  the  new  resident  on  nearby  ranches  and  farms  finds  himself  un- 
usually favored  in  the  matter  of  purchasing  supplies  and  equipment  of 
all  kinds.  Within  the  last  year  a  decided  impetus  has  been  given  shop- 
ping of  all  kinds,  and  among  the  most  important  enterprises  in  the 
town  are  its  hardware  stores  where  farm  equipment  and  specialties  of 
all  kinds  may  be  procured  as  easily  and  satisfactorily  as  in  metropoli- 
tan cities.  The  housewife  finds  all  her  needs  to  have  been  anticipated 
at  the  stores  which  are  exceptional  and  which  are  constantly  improv- 
ing and  going  ahead. 

An  artesian  water  belt  running  through  the  eastern  part  of  the  Val- 
ley makes  it  possible  for  farmers  to  sink  wells  and  find  plenty  of  good 
water  for  drinking  and  household  purposes  at  a  depth  of  only  a  few 
hundred  feet,  which  is  likely  to  vary  in  different  localities.  This  is  the 
only  belt  of  artesian  water  in  the  whole  Valley,  and  is  an  added  point 
in  which  Nature  has  smiled  upon  this  particular  section  of  the  country. 
In  this  connection  one  thinks  of  the  Natatorium,  which  is  the  only  thing 
of  the  kind  in  the  whole  Valley,  and  the  place  where  hundreds  of  bath- 
ers gather  all  during  the  summer  from  points  all  over  the  Valley  for 
cooling  dips  and  frolics  in  the  cooling  waters.  Last  year  the  Natatorium 
had  the  most  successful  run  in  its  history,  and  this  year  will  likely 
double  its  popularity,  as  it  is  to  be  again  under  the  same  management. 

In  many  respects  Holtville  is  in  a  class  entirely  by  itself.  It  is  slightly 
below  sea  level,  but  when  sleeping  in  a  second  story  chamber  one  rests 
entirely  above  sea  level.  The  city  is  particularly  and  peculiarly  health- 
ful, and  but  very  little  illness  is  ever  manifested  here.  In  fact  much  of 
its  population   can  be  directly  traced  to  the  reputation  it  bears   for 


278  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

health  fulness  which  is  a  fine  thing  for  the  town,  but  a  poor  field  for 
members  of  the  medical  fraternity. 

When  the  great  southern  National  Highway  is  completed  Holtville 
will  be  the  first  point  of  entry  to  the  tourists  and  homeseekers  who  will 
be  lured  hither.  Combine  this  project  with  the  opening  of  the  great 
east  side  mesa,  and  it  would  appear  to  the  most  skeptical  that  Holt- 
ville's  future  was  doubly  assured.  Its  progressiveness  has  only  started. 
Beautified  with  thousands  and  thousands  of  trees  that  make  for  com- 
fort and  coolness,  with  an  incomparable  reputation  for  healthfulness, 
with  exceptional  school  facilities,  with  crop  prospects  that  cannot  be 
discounted  in  any  corner  of  the  globe,  with  shipping  facilities,  and 
commercial  equipments  of  the  best,  the  "Gem"  city  bids  fair  to  become 
in  a  few  short  years  the  most  important,  as  well  as  the  most  prosperous 
of  all  the  towns  in  the  Valley. 

As  is  true  of  every  town  of  the  Valley,  society  has  not  developed 
to  any  appreciable  degree  of  exclusion.  As  in  all  new  countries,  per- 
sons are  accepted  for  their  character,  and  not  for  their  other  attain- 
ments. Ability  to  pioneer  marks  the  stepping  stone  of  those  who  occupy 
prominent  places  in  the  happy  social  atmosphere  of  a  community  that 
is  not  circumscribed  and  hedged  with  social  conventions  that  must  of 
necessity  exist  in  larger  and  older  localities. 

Summed  up,  we  find  that  Holtville's  claim  to  popularity  and  distinc- 
tion is  gained  from  the  enterprise  of  its  farmers  and  ranchers,  from  its 
schools,  from  the  great  fertility  of  the  soil  of  the  surrounding  thou- 
sands and  thousands  of  acres,  from  which  crops  may  be  derived  more 
easily  than  from  any  other  land  in  the  world.  It  is  derived  from  a 
spirit  of  co-operation  among  its  citizens  and  townspeople  that  is  not 
only  commendable  but  tremendously  unusual.  Its  activities  are  as  varied 
as  could  be  in  any  community  with  its  creameries,  cotton  gins,  its  cattle 
and  hog  shipping,  and  its  marvelous  crops.  Besides  the  municipal  attain- 
ments that  have  been  accomplished  from  time  to  time,  with  a  reputa- 
tion for  health  that  is  unparalleled,  Holtville  must,  by  virtue  of  its  re- 
markable natural  possessions,  be  destined  to  become  one  of  the  largest 
and  most  prosperous  cities  of  the  great  Imperial  Valley.  Its  citizens 
alive  to  the  future  and  the  possibilities  that  future  will  offer  are  work- 
ing in  a  harmony  of  purpose  and  largeness  of  motive  that  presages  a 
wonderful  prosperity  for  Holtville  in  the  future  as  in  the  past. 


CHAPTER  XXIV 
EL  CENTRO 

BY  EDGAR  F.  HOWE 

One  can  understand  how  the  few  cities  of  the  ancient  world  attained 
individualism  that  marked  them  for  all  time,  and  he  can  understand 
how  a  few  modern  cities  simply  by  the  exhibit  of  bulk  can  be  conspicu- 
ous in  world  affairs.  But  can  a  little  city  of  modern  days  attain  an  in- 
dividualism without  eccentricity? 

There  is  reason  to  believe  that  this  is  being  done  by  El  Centro,  and 
that  almost  without  conscious  endeavor  by  the  populace.  It  is  the  cap- 
ital, political  and  commercial,  of  the  first  country  that  has  developed 
during  the  automobile  age,  and  it  is  not  strange  that  this  modern  vehi- 
cle, which  has  made  the  farmer  a  score  of  miles  away  a  near  neighbor, 
is  working  out  here  something  different  from  that  wrought  elsewhere 
during  the  slow  days  of  the  lumber  wagon  and  spring  buggy. 

As  this  is  written  there  are  ten  towns  in  Imperial  Valley,  and  before 
this  book  shall  have  ceased  to  be  a  work  of  reference  in  libraries  the 
number  may  be  expected  to  increase  a  hundred  fold.  These  towns  now 
and  the  invisible  cities  of  the  future  like  them  circle  about  El  Centro, 
all  within  an  hour's  drive  by  automobile,  and  we  cannot  doubt  that 
what  has  proved  universal  elsewhere  on  earth  will  prove  inevitable  here, 
and  that  as  time  goes  on  that  which  is  the  metropolis  now  will  become 
more  metropolitan,  and  this  without  detracting  from  the  fine  attain- 
ments of  the  other  towns  of  the  Valley. 

El  Centro  was  not  one  of  the  original  towns  of  the  Valley.  It  sprang 
up  later  and  avoided  some  of  the  mistakes  that  had  been  made  else- 
where. The  towns  of  the  earlier  pioneer  days  had  started  with  the  flim- 
sy architecture  adapted  to  the  needs  of  the  time,  and  while  they  were 
able  to  get  away  from  that  in  time,  El  Centro  from  the  first  had  the  ad- 
vantage of  being  cleanly  built  to  meet  the  later  requirements. 

W.  T.  Bill  as  head  of  the  El  Centro  Townsite  Company  filed  the  plat 
of  the  town  in  1905.  He  was  closely  affiliated  with  W.  F.  Holt,  who  al- 


28o  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

ready  was  taking  his  position  as  the  chief  promoter  of  public  utility 
corporations  of  this  section.  Through  the  initiative  of  the  latter,  the 
Holton  Interurban  Railroad  was  built  from  El  Centro  to  Holtville, 
electric  power  and  ice  plants  were  installed,  followed  later  by  a  gas 
plant,  these  institutions  severally  serving  all  or  a  good  portion  of  the 
Valley  from  this  town,  and  still  later  the  interurban  road  was  extended 
westwardly  to  become  a  part  of  the  San  Diego  and  Arizona  Railroad. 

Mr.  Holt  also  became  the  promoter  of  the  first  bank,  and  he  and 
others  began  the  erection  of  business  buildings  of  a  superior  type  for  a 
town  of  tender  years. 

Imperial,  in  some  of  its  better  buildings,  had  set  the  pattern  of  ar- 
cades, and  this  type  of  structure,  so  splendidly  adapted  to  a  hot  climate, 
became  the  universal  type  here  and  was  passed  on  to  the  other  towns  of 
the  Valley. 

Full  blocks  of  the  arcade  buildings,  so  much  more  sightly  than  the  ir- 
regular and  ragged  looking  awnings  of  other  towns,  makes  a  fine  im- 
pression on  the  stranger,  and  gives  a  ship-shapeness  to  the  general  ap- 
pearance that  has  set  a  standard  for  other  affairs  of  the  community. 

In  the  course  of  time  there  came  the  period  of  street  paving,  during 
which  all  the  business  streets  and  the  main  avenues  leading  to  the  boun- 
daries of  the  city  were  rendered  among  the  finest  roadways  to  be  found, 
and  dust  and  mud  ceased  to  be  elements  to  contend  with. 

The  primitive  sewer  system  of  the  earliest  days  gave  way  in  1916  to 
an  outfall  sewer  built  in  co-operation  with  Imperial,  which  extends 
through  the  latter  town  and  thence  to  the  northwest,  where  it  empties 
into  New  River. 

Only  second  in  importance  from  the  standpoint  of  sanitation  is  the 
filtration  plant  under  construction  at  this  time  (spring  of  1918),  for 
the  purification  of  water  used  for  all  purposes. 

From  the  first,  El  Centro  has  taken  a  high  position  in  the  institutions 
that  promote  civilization.  Its  schools,  churches  and  press  have  been  of 
high  standard,  and  they  have  had  difficult  work  to  accomplish  because 
of  the  complexities  of  habits  and  ideals  of  its  extremely  cosmopolitan 
population.  Natives  of  the  northern  and  southern  States  are  pretty 
evenly  balanced,  and  these  may  be  said  to  be  the  basic  strata  of  the 
population.  Overlying  these,  as  next  in  period  of  arrival,  is  an  extensive 
Swiss  population,  the  individuals  having  been  drawn  from  their  native 


EL  CENTRO  281 

land  by  the  great  opportunities  discovered  in  the  dairy  industry.  They 
are  a  frugal,  industrious  people  and  are  meeting  with  a  high  degree  of 
success. 

The  next  class  to  come  in  considerable  numbers  were  colored  people 
from  the  cotton  States  of  the  South.  Among  the  colored  people  are  a 
number  of  considerable  intellectual  attainment,  and  then  there  are  some 
others.  Schools  and  churches  are  affording  the  people  of  this  race  an 
opportunity  and  encouragement  to  attain  higher  development,  and  in 
this  the  general  white  sentiment  is  sympathetic  and  desirous  of  being 
helpful. 

El  Centro  has  not  acquired  a  large  Japanese  population,  many  more 
East  Indians,  Mohammedans  and  Hindus  being  seen  on  the  streets. 
These  people  are  not  residents  of  the  town,  however,  being  wholly  rural 
in  their  habits. 

In  manufacturing  lines  there  are  the  power  interests,  the  extensive 
ice  plant,  the  largest  and  most  modern  creamery  west  of  the  Missouri 
River,  several  gins  and  a  cottonseed  oil  mill,  and  a  beginning  is  being 
made  this  year  on  a  large  project  looking  to  the  dehydrating  and  can- 
ning of  fruits  and  vegetables. 

El  Centro  is  distinctively  a  commercial  and  residence  town.  Its  hotel 
accommodations  far  outrank  the  typical  small  city.  The  homes  of  the 
people  are  modern  bungalows,  a  few  with  considerable  indication  of 
wealth  and  refinement.  Numerous  extensive  farmers,  having  property 
at  distant  points  in  the  Valley,  have  chosen  this  as  their  home.  The  stores 
of  the  town  carry  extensive  stocks,  and  during  trading  hours  the  streets 
are  lined  with  rows  of  automobiles  that  at  times  are  so  numerous  as  to 
render  traffic  difficult,  these  machines  having  brought  customers  from 
all  parts  of  the  Valley. 

El  Centro  is  a  city  with  an  eye  distinctively  to  the  future  and  with 
faith  in  the  future.  Its  present  7500  population  look  confidently  to  a 
rapid  multiplication  of  their  numbers  through  the  expansion  of  indus- 
tries and  the  broadening  of  genuine  opportunities. 

HOLTON  POWER  COMPANY 

In  connection  with  his  other  interests  in  the  Valley,  Mr.  W.  F.  Holt 
organized  the  Holton  Power  Company  for  the  purpose  of  serving  the 
cities  and  towns  of  the  Valley  with  electrical  energy  and  ice.  The  com- 


282  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

pany  was  incorporated  September  16,  1903,  under  the  laws  of  Califor- 
nia, for  a  period  of  fifty  years.  The  principal  place  of  business  of  the 
company  from  the  date  of  its  incorporation  until  May,  1916,  was  at 
Redlands,  California. 

The  original  capitalization  was  $500,000.00  stock  in  shares  of  $100.00 
each.  The  capital  stock  was  increased  on  June  15,  1905,  to  $1,000,000- 
.00  to  provide  additional  capital  for  improvements  and  extensions,  and 
on  July  18,  191 1,  to  care  for  the  further  expansion  of  the  business,  was 
again  increased  to  $1,500,000.00.  At  present  there  is  issued  and  out- 
standing a  total  of  $1,250,000.00.  The  company  also  has,  issued  and  out- 
standing, a  total  of  $937,000.00  in  bonds.  Owing  to  the  wide  extent  of 
territory  served  and  the  sparse  population  as  compared  to  older  and 
more  thickly  settled  sections,  the  company,  during  the  development  pe- 
riod of  the  Valley,  has  been  under  the  necessity  of  making  very  heavy 
investments  of  capital,  an  adequate  return  on  which  is  assured  only 
after  a  long  period  of  time,  when  the  Valley  becomes  more  fully  de- 
veloped. 

The  company  serves  the  cities  and  towns  of  El  Centro,  Imperial, 
Brawley,  Calexico,  Calipatria  and  Holtville,  as  well  as  contiguous  and 
intermediate  territory.  The  company  serves  at  present  approximately 
3500  customers ;  it  maintains  a  central  office  at  El  Centro  in  charge  of  a 
district  manager. 

The  Holton  Power  Company  owns  and  operates  two  hydro-electric 
power  plants  at  Holtville,  with  a  capacity  of  1500  kilowatts,  a  steam 
generating  plant  at  El  Centro  with  a  capacity  of  250  kilowatts,  and  a 
gas  electric  generating  plant  (also  located  at  El  Centro)  with  a  capa- 
city of  750  kilowatts.  The  company  has  a  total  mileage  of  transmission 
and  distribution  lines  in  the  Imperial  Valley  of  165  miles. 

In  the  early  part  of  1916,  owing  to  the  necessity  of  providing  in- 
creased generating  capacity  for  the  more  adequate  service  of  the  public, 
Mr.  Holt  disposed  of  his  interests  in  the  company  to  the  same  interests 
controlling  The  Southern  Sierras  Power  Company  and  other  large  hy- 
dro generating  companies  operating  in  the  central  part  of  the  State, 
physical  connection  with  the  Southern  Sierras  system  having  been  es- 
tablished by  the  construction  of  a  transmission  line  from  San  Bernar- 
dino to  El  Centro  in  1914.  Upon  the  change  in  ownership  the  general 
offices  were  removed  from  Redlands  to  Riverside. 


EL  CENTRO  283 

The  present  officers  of  the  company  are  as  follows :  President  and 
general  manager,  A.  B.  West ;  vice-president,  W.  F.  Holt ;  treasurer,  A. 
S.  Cooper ;  secretary,  W.  G.  Driver. 

COACHELLA  VALLEY  ICE  AND  ELECTRIC  COMPANY 

In  1914,  owing  to  the  increased  demand  for  electricity  in  the  Imperial 
Valley,  it  became  imperative  for  the  Holton  Power  Company  either  to 
increase  its  generating  capacity,  by  the  construction  of  new  generating 
plants  in  the  Valley,  or  else  connect  with  other  companies  who  had  a 
surplus  of  power  to  sell.  The  latter  plan  was  decided  to  be  most  feasible 
and  accordingly  the  Coachella  Valley  Ice  and  Electric  Company  was 
organized  for  the  purpose  of  constructing  and  operating  a  transmission 
line  extending  from  San  Bernardino  to  El  Centro,  which  served  to  in- 
ter-connect the  system  of  The  Southern  Sierras  Power  Company  with 
that  of  the  Holton  Power  Company.  The  Coachella  Company  at  present 
owns  and  operates  about  150  miles  of  transmission  line. 

The  Coachella  Valley  Company,  in  addition  to  supplying  current  at 
wholesale  to  the  Holton  Power  Company,  also  serves  the  public  in  the 
Coachella  Valley,  and  furnishes  electricity  for  the  operation  of  the  silt 
dredges  of  the  Imperial  Irrigation  District  at  Hanlon's  Heading,  on  the 
Colorado  River,  about  2400  horse-power  being  supplied  for  this  purpose 
at  the  Heading. 

The  Coachella  Valley  Ice  and  Electric  Company  is  incorporated  un- 
der the  laws  of  California,  with  an  authorized  capital  stock  of  $300,000- 
.00,  all  of  which  is  issued  and  outstanding.  The  company  is  controlled 
and  managed  by  the  same  interests  that  own  The  Southern  Sierras 
Power  Company  and  Holton  Power  Company,  its  headquarters  also 
being  located  at  Riverside. 

THE  IMPERIAL  ICE  AND  DEVELOPMENT  COMPANY 

Upon  the  acquirement  of  the  Holton  Power  Company  by  the  present 
management,  it  was  deemed  advisable  to  segregate  the  ice  business  from 
the  electric  operations  in  the  Valley.  Previous  to  that  time  the  ice  plants 
which  served  a  large  part  (if  not  all)  of  the  ice  consumed  in  the  Valley 
were  owned  and  operated  by  the  Holton  Power  Company.  In  June, 
1916,  The  Imperial  Ice  &  Development  Company  was  incorporated  with 
a  capitalization  of  $1,000,000.00,  for  the  purpose  of  taking  over  the  ice- 


284  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

manufacturing  interests  of  the  Holton  Power  Company  and  the  Coach- 
ella  Valley  Ice  and  Electric  Company,  the  latter  company  at  that  time 
owning  and  operating  the  ice  plant  located  at  Coachella.  The  Imperial 
Ice  and  Development  Company  not  only  enlarged  the  ice-manufacturing 
plant  of  the  Holton  Power  Company,  but  the  increased  demand  for  ice 
(particularly  for  the  refrigeration  of  produce  shipments  from  the  Val- 
ley) necessitated  the  construction  of  additional  plants.  One  plant  with 
a  rated  output  capacity  of  30  tons  per  day  and  a  storage  capacity  of 
5000  tons  was  constructed  at  Brawley  and  completed  January,  1917. 
The  plant  has  an  actual  manufacturing  capacity  of  about  40  tons  per 
day. 

The  company  not  only  supplies  the  general  public  throughout  the 
Valley  with  ice,  but  also  is  under  contract  to  supply  the  Pacific  Fruit 
Express  with  a  large  proportion  of  the  ice  required  by  that  company  for 
refrigeration  of  shipments  from  the  Valley.  The  main  office  of  The  Im- 
perial Ice  and  Development  Company  is  also  located  at  Riverside  and 
under  the  same  management  as  the  other  companies.  The  company  also 
operates  the  ice  plant  located  at  Coachella,  with  a  daily  capacity  of  30 
tons. 

THE  EL  CENTRO  FIRE  DEPARTMENT 
BY  JOS.  F.  SEYMOUR,  JR. 

It  is  the  consensus  of  opinion  of  the  people  of  El  Centro  that  the  El 
Centro  Volunteer  Fire  Department  is  a  live  organization,  a  credit  to  the 
community  and  to  itself.  It  has  a  membership  limited  to  twenty-five 
members.  The  membership  consists  in  the  main  part  of  business  and 
professional  men,  the  majority  of  whom  have  been  members  of  this 
department  for  more  than  five  years. 

The  department  has  grown  from  one  wherein  the  sole  equipment  was 
a  little,  old  two-wheel  cart  to  one  which  is  now  equipped  with  a  com- 
bination automobile  hose  and  chemical  wagon  and  an  auto  pump  and 
hose  truck,  together  with  a  hook  and  ladder  truck.  The  department  is 
housed  in  spacious  quarters  and  has  elegant  club  rooms,  the  furnishings 
of  which  are  among  the  finest  in  the  entire  state,  the  same  being  owned 
by  the  members  of  the  department. 

The  department  has  furnished  its  quota  of  men  to  the  national  army, 
together  with  hundreds  of  dollars  in  cash  to  the  government  patriotic 


EL  CENTRO  285 

associations,  among  which  were  liberal  cash  donations  to  the  Red  Cross 
and  $700  for  an  ambulance. 

The  citizens  of  El  Centro  at  all  times  exercise  the  privilege  of  calling 
on  the  department  to  aid  the  community  in  those  things  which  are  for 
the  betterment  of  all  concerned,  and  the  department  always  responds  in 
a  way  that  guarantees  success. 

One  of  the  most  notable  efforts  of  the  fire  department  was  when,  on 
the  last  day  of  the  second  Liberty  Loan  drive,  members  of  the  depart- 
ment collected  in  the  neighborhood  of  $150,000  from  the  city  of  El 
Centro. 

The  department  has  a  business  organization  in  connection  with  its 
fire  department  organization.  The  fire  alarms  are  sounded  by  whistle, 
the  town  being  divided  into  districts.  Officials  of  the  city  and  people 
familiar  with  fire  departments  and  organizations  throughout  the  United 
States  have  been  very  liberal  in  their  favorable  comment  as  to  the  effi- 
ciency and  equipment  of  this  department.  A  spirit  of  co-operation  ex- 
ists between  this  department  and  departments  of  other  towns  in  the 
Valley,  all  of  which  departments  are  volunteer  organizations,  equipped 
with  modern  apparatus,  and  it  can  well  be  said  that  the  entire  member- 
ship of  all  the  departments  represents  the  best  citizenship  of  the  Valley. 


CHAPTER  XXV 

SEELEY 

BY  J.  B.  TOLER 

When  the  traveler  starts  out  to  visit  the  great  Imperial  Valley,  enter- 
ing it  from  the  west,  his  eyes  rest  first  upon  the  fertile  lands  adjacent 
to  Seeley,  the  western  gateway  into  this  wonderland.  Seeley  is  favor- 
ably located  on  the  California  State  Highway,  which  has  been  com- 
pleted from  the  San  Diego  County  line  to  the  county  seat  nine  miles 
east,  and  also  on  the  San  Diego  and  Arizona  Railway,  which,  in  March, 
1918,  lacked  only  about  twelve  miles  of  completion.  It  is  the  largest 
town  on  the  west  side,  nearest  the  cooler  mountain  breezes  and  also  to 
the  San  Diego  harbor. 

Seeley  is  the  center  of  a  prosperous  agricultural  district,  with  numer- 
ous and  diversified  crops.  Livestock,  dairying,  hog  raising  and  poultry 
raising  are  important  industries.  Cotton  is  grown  quite  extensively.  The 
two  gins  located  here  have  handled  about  2500  bales  each  year  for  the 
past  two  seasons,  and  a  special  gin  is  being  erected  to  handle  the  Egyp- 
tian varieties,  of  which  there  will  be  around  700  acres,  principally  Pima, 
planted  here  in  1918. 

From  a  cluster  of  sand  dunes  in  1912  Seeley  has  made  a  steady 
growth,  and  now  has  a  population  of  about  350  prosperous  people,  with 
schools,  churches,  an  active  farm  center  and  social  organizations.  Prac- 
tically all  trades  are  represented,  including  a  bank,  drug  store,  physi- 
cian, department  store,  grocery  store,  hardware  store,  hotel,  garage, 
weekly  newspaper,  meat  market,  restaurant,  billiard  parlor,  barber 
shops,  blacksmith  shops,  postoffice,  depot  and  express  office.  The  town 
has  electric  service  for  light  and  power,  telephone  service,  a  city  water 
system  and  all  modern  improvements,  and  a  host  of  loyal  citizens  who 
are  always  ready  to  welcome  new  enterprises  and  good  citizens. 


CHAPTER  XXVI 

CALIPATRIA  AXD  XILAXD 
BY  HARRY  H.  CLARK 

Before  Imperial  Valley  was  ever  heard  of  as  a  settlement  the  South- 
ern Pacific  Railroad  was  granted  ever)-  other  section  of  land  Iving  be- 
tween parallel  lines  for  twenty  miles  on  each  side  of  its  right  of  wav, 
this  grant  being  made  by  Congress  to  encourage  the  building  of  trans- 
continental railways  in  the  days  when  there  was  no  railroad  across  the 
continent.  This  concession  included  all  of  the  district  lying  north  of  the 
third  parallel  in  Imperial  Valley.  In  order  to  settle  up  this  country  it 
was  necessary  to  build  the  main  canal,  with  its  hundreds  of  miles  of  lat- 
erals, and  as  there  was  no  way  by  which  this  could  be  done  except  by 
the  sale  of  water  stock,  and  as  the  owner  of  land  could  not  be  forced  to 
purchase  water  stock  unless  he  desired  to  use  the  water  upon  his  land, 
the  Southern  Pacific  not  being  willing  to  purchase  the  stock  for  these 
alternate  sections,  it  was  too  heavy  a  burden  upon  the  even  numbered 
sections,  they  constituting  only  one-half  of  the  acreage.  This  part  of  the 
\  alley  consequently  lay  idle  until  four  years  ago.  when  an  association 
purchased  all  of  the  lands  of  the  Southern  Pacific  in  the  Valley  and 
immediately  advanced  S300.000  in  cash,  which,  with  the  addition  of  the 
stock  sold  for  the  even  numbered  sections,  permitted  them  to  form 
mutual  Water  Company  Xo.  3  and  build  the  necessary  canals  and  later- 
als, which  were  started  four  years  ago  and  are  now  a  complete  unit. 

Four  years  ago  there  was  no  land  under  cultivation  in  this  district 
Today  we  have  upwards  of  70,000  acres  under  cultivation.  The  soils 
and  climate  of  the  Xorth  End  are  very  similar  to  those  of  other  parts 
of  the  Valley,  the  Xorth  End  lands  having  possibly  a  little  more  slope 
towards  the  sea.  on  account  of  being  in  what  is  known  as  '"the  neck  of 
the  Valley." 

Since  that  time,  two  thriving  towns  have  been  built,  Calipatria.  with 
over  half  a  million  dollars'  worth  of  buildings,  and  Xiland.  with  many 
good,  substantial  buildings,  and  having  at  the  present  time  under  con- 


288  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

struction  the  finest  bank  building,  and  seven  concrete  stores,  in  the  Val- 
ley. The  Salton  Sea,  later  named  Imperial  Lake,  is  in  this  district,  our 
lands  bordering  the  sea.  This  somewhat  tempers  the  extreme  heat  in 
the  summer  and  also  the  colder  winds  of  the  winter. 

As  an  illustration  of  the  wonderful  settlement  of  this  North  End, 
we  have  three  large  warehouses  in  Calipatria,  the  Balfour-Guthrie 
Company,  the  Globe  Mills  and  Newmark's.  These  warehouses  could 
hold  but  a  portion  of  the  barley  crop  harvested  last  spring,  and  the 
manager  of  the  Globe  Mills  told  me  that  they  were  now  emptying 
their  large  warehouses  here  for  the  third  time  this  season. 

We  have  every  convenience  of  older  communities,  such  as  electric 
lights,  electric  power,  telephone  system,  water  systems  and  every  kind 
of  mercantile  enterprise  is  represented  by  from  one  to  three  or  four 
modern  stores.  We  have  two  strong  banks  and  at  the  present  time 
plans  have  been  approved  and  material  is  arriving  for  the  construction 
of  the  largest  and  most  complete  railroad  depot  east  of  Pomona  and 
west  of  Phoenix.  The  railroad  companies  never  build  anything  on  sen- 
timent. They  would  not  build  this  kind  of  a  depot  if  the  business  of 
the  country  did  not  justify  it. 

Again,  there  is  a  vast  acreage  of  splendid  farming  land  southwest 
of  here  which  is  now  tapped  by  a  branch  line  from  Calipatria  to  West- 
moreland, which  will  be  later  extended  to  a  connection  with  the  San 
Diego  road.  The  rights  of  way  have  been  secured  and  the  work  laid 
out  to  build  another  branch  east  and  south  some  23  miles,  giving  to 
that  vast  territory  an  outlet  and  bringing  the  business  of  both  sections 
to  Calipatria. 

As  an  indication  of  how  the  country  has  improved  and  the  possibili- 
ties of  improving  this  "Valley  of  the  Nile",  some  of  the  wonderful 
crops  grown  here  might  be  cited.  For  instance,  we  have  records  here 
of  alfalfa  yielding  twelve  tons  to  the  acre.  W.  A.  Kennedy,  who  took 
a  piece  of  raw  land  three  years  ago,  sowed  it  to  alfalfa  two  years  ago, 
and  recently  received  $5000  in  cash  for  a  hundred  days'  pasturage  on 
160  acres.  There  are  thousands  of  acres  of  alfalfa-land  here  now  rented 
from  $20  to  $25  per  acre  per  year,  and  when  we  think  that  only  three 
short  years  ago  this  was  a  desert,  the  mind  can  scarcely  comprehend 
the  possibilities  for  the  future. 

Here  we  are  successfully  growing  cotton,  alfalfa,  barley,  Milo  maize, 


CALIPATRIA  AND  NILAND  289 

potatoes,  onions,  cabbage,  lettuce,  cantaloupes,  and  all  the  vegetables 
grown  in  a  semi-tropical  country,  and  growing  them  very  profitably. 
Men  are  even  known  to  raise  crops  in  one  season  that  sold  for  more 
money  than  the  land  cost  them. 

Calipatria  is  an  unincorporated  town,  controlled  by  a  business  men's 
association,  comprising  forty-three  active  business  men  as  members. 
We  have  three  churches,  a  Catholic,  a  Congregational  and  a  Seventh 
Day  Adventist.  We  have  a  $35,000  schoolhouse  and  the  trustees  are 
now  securing  plans  for  an  addition  to  it,  as  we  have  193  scholars  en- 
rolled and  our  buildings  are  not  large  enough  to  accommodate  them. 
We  are  also  at  the  present  time  putting  out  petitions  for  a  union  high 
school. 

The  North  End  comprises  a  territory  about  eighteen  by  twenty  miles, 
of  which  Calipatria  and  Niland  are  the  two  towns.  Niland  is  located 
at  the  junction  of  the  Imperial  Valley  branch  and  the  main  line  of  the 
Southern  Pacific,  and  is  destined  to  be  a  good  town  in  the  no  distant 
future ;  and  Calipatria,  situated  in  the  center  of  this  enormous  agricul- 
tural district,  is  destined  to  be  one  of  the  largest  towns  in  Imperial 
County  within  the  next  five  years. 

Our  water  system  of  the  district  is  probably  one  of  the  most  perfect 
in  the  United  States,  as  for  every  delivery-ditch,  or  lateral,  there  has 
been  built  a  corresponding  drainage  ditch,  which  forever  prevents  this 
land  from  becoming  water-logged,  or  raising  the  water  level  to  a  dan- 
ger point. 

If  three  short  years  of  settlement  have  brought  about  all  these  things 
mentioned,  what  can  we  expect  this  to  be  in  ten  years  from  now? 
With  more  intense  cultivation,  with  the  large  tracts  being  cut  up  into 
small  acreage  (140  ten-acre  tracts  have  been  sold  around  Calipatria) 
it  will  mean  a  population  in  ten  years  from  now  greater  than  the  entire 
Imperial  Valley  at  the  present  time. 

Land  values  have  doubled  and  trebled  in  three  years,  some  of  the 
lands  having  sold  as  high  as  $300  an  acre  that  three  years  ago  could 
have  been  bought  for  from  $75  to  $100. 

Imperial  County  is  blessed  with  one  particular  thing,  and  that  is 
good  health.  There  is  only  one  practicing  physician  in  the  North  End 
of  the  Valley,  and  if  it  were  not  for  the  visits  of  the  stork  he  says  that 
he  would  have  to  move  out.  We  have  no  malaria,  typhoid  or  malignant 


290 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


fevers,  and  while  we  do  have  the  ordinary  hot  summers  of  the  low 
elevations,  yet  having  no  humidity,  it  causes  no  bad  effects,  but  on 
the  contrary  makes  vegetation  grow  prolifically. 

We  are  feeding  upwards  of  15,000  head  of  cattle  now  in  the  North 
End  of  the  Valley,  about  12,000  head  of  sheep,  3000  head  of  goats  and 
thousands  of  head  of  hogs.  It  is  the  paradise  of  the  poultry  raiser,  on 
account  of  the  dry  climate  and  abundance  of  green  feed  the  year 
around.  Imperial  County  is  one  great  big  family,  all  working  in  har- 
mony for  the  whole  Valley,  and  is  destined  to  be  the  greatest  agricul- 
tural community  in  the  world;  and  while  only  an  infant,  it  has  already 
taken  the  lead  in  the  state  as  the  greatest  producer  of  butter,  hogs,  cat- 
tle, turkeys,  alfalfa,  cotton  and  Milo  maize,  and  this  all  in  the  short 
time  of  seventeen  years. 


CHAPTER  XXVII 
THE  MUD  VOLCANOES 

BY  GAREY  HAMLIN 

There  is  probably  nothing  quite  so  actively  real  to  be  found  in  Califor- 
nia today  as  the  numerous  little  mounds  on  the  verge  of  the  Salton  Sea, 
which  are  in  a  state  of  continual  eruption.  In  reality,  they  are  minia- 
ture volcanoes,  which,  like  warts  on  a  cucumber,  prominently  dot  the 
earth's  surface  at  the  southern  end  of  the  lake.  They  vary  in  height, 
ranging  from  one  to  ten  feet,  and  in  formation  may  be  likened  to  Vesu- 
vius itself — crater,  escaping  gases,  steam  and  all. 

From  the  lip  of  the  crater  a  brown  sulphurous  slime  runs  down  the 
hot  rugged  sides,  while  within  there  is  a  steady  rumbling,  and  at  min- 
ute intervals  a  discharge  of  hot  mud  is  shot  from  twenty-five  to  seventy- 
five  feet  into  the  air.  The  roar  may  be  heard  many  miles.  They  are  on 
what  was  a  few  months  ago  the  bottom  of  the  Salton  Sea,  and  are  270 
feet  below  sea  level.  It  is  only  with  great  difficulty  that  they  can  be 
approached,  owing  to  the  fact  that  the  land  has  not  yet  dried  sufficient 
for  traffic. 

Although  the  historic  mud-pots  were  perhaps  discovered  eons  ago, 
it  has  been  but  recently  that  certain  intrepid  parties  have  had  courage 
enough  to  venture  to  the  brink  of  these  fiery  kettles  of  steaming  clay 
for  the  purpose  of  photographing  volcanoes,  so  to  speak,  in  their  na- 
tive haunts. 

There  is  probably  nothing  quite  so  actively  real  to  be  found  in  Cali- 
fornia today,  or  elsewhere  in  the  United  States,  for  that  matter.  The 
volcanoes  were  well  known  to  the  early  residents  of  the  Valley.  With 
the  pouring  of  the  water  of  the  Colorado  River  into  the  Salton  Sink, 
these  volcanoes  were  covered  with  water  and  finally  subsided.  During 
the  last  year  their  activity  has  been  resumed  and  they  have  proven  an 
extraordinary  sight. 

Incidentally,  they  are  going  to  saddle  these  obsteperous  volcanoes 
and  make  them  useful  to  man.  By  adopting  the  plan  used  at  Laradello, 


292 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


Tuscany,  by  which  live  steam  from  subterranean  depths  is  used  to  op- 
erate turbines  and  generate  electricity,  water  may  yet  be  conducted  to 
additional  hundreds  of  thousands  of  acres  of  land  in  the  Imperial 
Valley. 

Experts  show  that,  with  the  use  of  cheap  and  abundant  electricity, 
water  may  be  pumped  to  new  high-line  canals,  far  above  the  present 
system.  It  is  entirely  possible  that,  by  use  of  powerful  pumps  and  a 
comparatively  short  pipe-line,  many  square  miles  of  land  on  both  sides 
of  Salton  Sea  may  be  irrigated. 

The  feasibility  of  the  plan  of  using  steam  compressed  below  the 
earth's  surface  has  been  demonstrated  to  be  practical.  In  the  Italian 
plant,  operated  with  steam  from  a  distance  of  five  hundred  feet  below 
the  surface  in  the  geyser  district,  power  is  obtained  to  generate  elec- 
tricity that  moves  the  wheels  of  industry  over  a  wide  countryside.  By 
sinking  a  casing  in  the  heart  of  one  of  these  volcanoes,  to  a  depth  of  a 
few  hundred  feet,  it  will  be  entirely  possible  to  uncover  sufficient  live 
steam  at  high  pressure  to  operate  a  turbine  of  the  same  kind  used  in 
the  big  plant  in  Italy. 

The  possibilities  of  such  a  plant  are  almost  limitless  and  the  experi- 
ments will  be  watched  with  interest.  Should  they  prove  successful,  it 
is  highly  probable  that  efforts  will  be  undertaken  to  utilize  the  vast  area 
of  live  hot  springs  and  geysers  at  Volcano  Lake,  twenty-five  miles  south 
of  Calexico. 


CHAPTER  XXVIII 
LIVE-STOCK 

BY  PHILIP  W.  BROOKS 

Attention  is  first  directed  to  Imperial  Valley  with  reference  to  live- 
stock in  early  part  of  the  second  half  of  the  last  century.  In  the  extreme 
southeast  part,  or  that  portion  of  the  Valley  extending  into  Mexico, 
and  to  the  extreme  point  of  the  delta  of  the  Colorado  River  in  Mexico, 
range  grasses  and  overflow  growth  have  furnished  feed  for  wandering 
herds  of  cattle  for  many  years.  In  the  years  when  unexpected  rains  had, 
during  the  winter  season,  moistened  the  desert  loam,  short-lived  grasses 
sprang  up  and  furnished  temporary  feed  of  considerable  luxuriance  to 
stockmen  and  their  herds  from  the  Coast  Range  hills  lying  between  our 
Valley  and  the  Pacific  shores.  Aside  from  this,  no  hope  or  anticipation 
suggested  itself  to  a  living  soul,  with  reference  to  live-stock,  except  the 
promise  of  irrigation  from  the  spectacular  but,  as  yet,  useless  Colorado 
River. 

In  1900  and  1901,  when  the  first  water  was  diverted  for  agricultural 
use,  the  future  for  live-stock  on  an  entirely  different  basis  was  an  as- 
sured fact. 

A  veritable  stockman's  paradise,  in  which  the  question  of  feed  would 
never  rise  as  an  uncertainty,  but  to  know  with  the  accuracy  of  a  factory 
manager  the  output  of  his  plant.  Fertile  soil,  water  and  sunshine  con- 
tinuous forever,  with  judgment  and  attention  to  recognized  scientific 
principles  of  agriculture.  In  the  earliest  days  of  agricultural  effort  our 
first  crop  was  barley,  due  to  simplicity  in  planting  and  propagation  and 
harvest. 

From  the  green,  rich  fields  of  the  growing  grain  thousands  of  "feed- 
ers" were  shipped  direct  to  the  packers,  after  which  the  grain  was  har- 
vested. This  was  the  first  form  of  live-stock  activity,  and  eminently  suc- 
cessful it  is  followed  to  the  present  day,  mostly  by  large  stock  owners 
shipping  their  immense  herds  into  the  Valley  in  the  fall,  to  be  finished 
by  spring  or  before  the  summer  heat. 


294 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


Next  followed  extensive  planting  of  alfalfa.  A  very  natural  corollary 
to  this  was  the  importation  of  dairy  herds,  either  by  owners  or  tenants. 
If  one  branch  of  live-stock  activity  more  than  another  could  be  classi- 
fied as  most  successful,  that  distinction  should  belong  to  the  dairy  in- 
dustry. More  than  a  few  farms  have  been  paid  for  entirely  from  the 
dairy  proceeds,  and  in  an  extraordinarily  short  time.  The  by-products 
and  customary  side  lines — hogs  and  chickens — have  accomplished  al- 
most unbelievable  results,  and  it  should  freely  be  urged  on  the  prospec- 
tive farmer  of  small  means  to  follow  this  line  if  he  is  in  any  degree 
qualified. 

Sheep  deserve  prominent  mention,  and  have  always  been  fairly  iden- 
tified among  the  live-stock  statistics  of  Imperial  Valley,  although  not 
until  recently,  since  the  prices  of  wool  and  mutton  have  leaped  beyond 
the  wildest  dreams  of  the  most  sanguine,  have  the  sheepmen  truly  come 
into  their  own.  Two  shearings  of  wool  per  annum,  and  milk  lambs  in 
February  and  March,  is  all  the  experienced  sheepman  need  hear  in 
order  to  believe  anything  of  our  Valley. 

Fowl  of  every  description  thrive  without  restraint ;  dampness  and 
chill  —  deadly  to  chicken  turkeys  —  entirely  absent,  thus  removing  the 
greatest  element  of  risk ;  Los  Angeles  market  quotations  on  everything 
pertaining  to  poultry;  many  farmers'  wives  are  yearly  clothing  them- 
selves and  families,  to  say  nothing  of  the  summer  vacations  and  new 
flivers,  on  the  proceeds  from  their  chickens.  No  expensive  chicken 
houses  or  shelters ;  a  certainty  of  maximum  results  on  an  infinitesimal 
outlay. 

Hogs!  Nothing  promises  more.  Although  contrary  to  the  accepted 
idea,  probably  more  equipment  and  care  are  necessary  to  successful  hog 
growing  than  to  any  other  branch  of  live-stock  production.  Twelve 
months  outdoors  in  the  sunshine — God's  greatest  prophylactic — then 
with  provision  for  cleanliness  and  reasonable  sanitation  the  bugbear  of 
the  hog  game — cholera — disappears,  not  to  mention  the  recommenda- 
tion of  the  United  States  Department  of  Agriculture  concerning  vac- 
cination with  the  virus  and  serum  process  for  cholera  immunization. 
On  every  acre  of  land  a  crop  of  corn  and  a  crop  of  barley  each  year — 
two  crops  of  grain  per  annum ;  six  to  nine  crops  of  alfalfa.  No  place  on 
earth  but  suffers  from  comparison.  Farm  labor  shortage,  and  the  crops 
can  be  harvested  by  the  hogs  themselves — both  grass  and  grain.  Every 


LIVE-STOCK 


295 


antagonistic  element  practically  under  control — Nature  working  with 
man  to  accomplish  an  unbelievable  production. 

Stockmen  from  every  part  of  the  United  States  have  invested  and 
settled  in  Imperial  Valley,  and,  without  exception,  have  done  so  with 
the  basic  idea  of  permanent  insurance.  If  all  else  fails,  Imperial  Valley 
will  save  me  and  mine. 


CHAPTER  XXIX 
THE  NORTHERN  DISTRICT  OF  LOWER  CALIFORNIA 

BY  HECTOR  GONZALEZ 

One  can  say  that  there  have  been  two  northern  districts  of  Lower 
California — the  old  and  the  new.  I  call  old  the  one  centering  about  En- 
senada  along  about  1890,  and  new  the  one  whose  center  is  Mexicali — 
that  is,  the  present  district.  The  period  in  which  the  old  district  reached 
its  culmination  coincided  with  the  discovery  and  exploration  of  placer 
gold  at  El  Alamo,  or  Santa  Clara ;  and  as  this  rich  mineral  reached  the 
market  through  Ensenada,  this  place  was  the  one  that  realized  the 
greatest  benefit  from  the  gold  which  the  earth  so  abundantly  furnished. 

Then  Ensenada  enjoyed  its  most  brilliant  epoch,  and  today  it  is  still  a 
beautiful  town,  surrounded  by  fine  plantations  of  corn  and  beans.  With 
the  falling  off  of  the  exportation  of  gold  came  naturally  the  decadence 
of  Ensenada,  and  this  at  the  time  when  Mexicali  and  its  surroundings, 
or  the  Mexican  portion  of  Imperial  Valley,  began  to  show  its  first  signs 
of  prosperity. 

The  political  events  of  the  year  1914,  which  put  Colonel  Esteban 
Cantu  at  the  head  of  the  government,  coincided  with  the  downfall  of 
Ensenada  and  the  evident  manifestation  of  the  development  of  the  Mex- 
icali region.  Perhaps  the  realization  of  this  fact  was  what  determined 
Colonel  Cantu  to  establish  the  capital  of  the  district  at  Mexicali.  This 
was  a  wise  move,  because  under  his  constant  and  intelligent  watchful- 
ness this  section  has  been  able  to  develop  itself  to  as  great  a  degree  as 
might  be  expected — so  much  so  that  Mexicali  is  the  storehouse  (caja 
fuerte)  of  the  district ;  the  open  strong-box  that  contains  the  means  by 
which  other  regions,  at  present  less  productive  or  less  wealthy,  are  able 
to  weather  their  financial  crises. 

A  mining  country  needs  less  of  the  initiative  of  human  talent  than  an 
agricultural  region.  Ensenada  was  the  capital  of  a  mining  region ;  Mex- 
icali is  the  head  of  an  agricultural  community.  In  the  development  of 


NORTHERN  DISTRICT  OF  LOWER  CALIFORNIA 


297 


Mexicali  more  than  at  Ensenada  has  intervened  the  human  element  with 
its  initiative  and  its  genius.  This  element  has  been  directed  and  en- 
couraged by  Colonel  Cantu,  the  man  to  whom  this  section  of  Lower 
California  owes  most. 

From  the  first  the  Colonel's  policy  of  government  has  proceeded  to- 
ward the  development  of  the  northern  district  of  Lower  California,  and, 
as  this  district  was  almost  nothing  when  he  began  to  govern  it,  he  is  in 
reality  its  principal  promoter. 

This  accomplishment  may  be  divided  into  several  parts ;  namely,  ( 1 ) 
The  development  of  the  different  regions  of  the  district,  principally  of 
Mexicali;  (2)  Communication  between  the  various  regions;  (3)  Com- 
munication by  all  of  these  regions  with  the  continental  part  of  Mexico 
by  an  all-Mexican  route.  As  can  be  seen  at  first  glance,  some  points  in 
this  program  are  intimately  related  to  others. 

It  would  be  impossible  in  a  few  paragraphs  to  give  a  complete  resume 
of  the  political  labors  of  Colonel  Cantu,  but  in  general  terms  we  shall 
refer  to  his  many  activities. 

Since,  due  to  the  general  situation  of  the  republic  and  to  that  pro- 
duced by  the  diverse  mining  laws,  mining  must  remain  paralyzed,  Col- 
onel Cantu  has  given  his  attention  to  agriculture,  providing  every  facil- 
ity for  opening  new  lands  to  cultivation.  These  facilities  have  served  to 
the  extent  that  cultivated  lands  that  before  1914  were  confined  to  those 
farms  adjacent  to  the  irrigation  canals  from  the  Colorado  River  now 
extend  many  miles  from  these  canals. 

The  southern  portion  of  the  district  at  present  open  to  irrigation  in- 
cludes the  plain  which  Sr.  Rene  Grivel  opened  to  cultivation  by  building 
new  canals  to  meet  its  needs.  In  addition  to  giving  every  aid  to  the 
farmers  already  established.  Colonel  Cantu  took  steps  to  bring  in  new 
laborers  and  colonists  to  cultivate  the  virgin  soil.  He  has  given  prefer- 
ence to  Mexican  colonists,  many  thousands  of  whom  have  arrived  in 
the  Mexican  portion  of  Imperial  Valley.  The  same  assistance  which  has 
been  given  to  the  region  about  Mexicali  has  also  been  afforded  Tia 
Juana,  Ensenada  and  Tecate,  but  with  lesser  results  than  in  the  first 
case.  Due  perhaps  to  the  rosy  prospects  which  the  cultivation  of  cot- 
ton offers  capital,  enterprise  and  enthusiasm  have  gathered  with  more 
vigor  around  Mexicali  than  around  any  other  place.  As  a  result  Mexi- 
cali has  been  peopled  with  more  daring  and  enterprising  men  than  the 


298  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

remainder  of  the  district,  but  nevertheless  all  of  the  district  has  been 
benefited. 

The  Mexican  government  has  also  entered  into  the  agricultural  in- 
dustry in  its  so-called  "cavalry  replenishing  farms"  (haciendas  de  re- 
monta),  of  which  there  are  many  in  the  district,  principally  at  Tecate, 
Ensenada  and  Tia  Juana.  These  farms  are  now  two  years  old,  and  have 
nearly  paid  back  to  the  government  the  cost  of  their  establishment.  The 
farmers  are  furnished  with  modern  implements  of  agriculture.  The 
principal  object  of  the  government  is  the  establishment  of  model  farms, 
where  market  vegetables  can  be  cultivated,  and  where  horses  and  mules 
for  the  army  can  be  raised.  These  farms  promise  to  be  a  great  success, 
and  in  time  it  is  hoped  will  be  copied  in  all  parts  of  Mexico.  The  prices 
of  all  products  are  subject  to  governmental  control. 

To  the  growth  of  the  cities  of  the  district  Colonel  Cantu  has  con- 
tributed an  infinite  amount  of  work.  Among  his  labors  we  may  men- 
tion the  following :  In  Mexicali  have  been  provided  a  condenser,  a  large 
school  building  costing  $80,000,  a  park,  a  telegraph  office,  infantry  bar- 
racks, cavalry  barracks,  a  municipal  hospital,  a  customhouse,  a  bridge 
over  New  River,  street  paving,  besides  numerous  works  of  lesser  im- 
portance; in  Ensenada,  troop  headquarters,  a  wharf  and  asphalt  pave- 
ments ;  in  Tia  Juana,  infantry  and  cavalry  barracks  and  water  works. 
To  facilitate  the  growth  of  the  different  regions  of  the  district,  Colonel 
Cantu  has  established  four  municipalities — Ensenada,  Mexicali,  Te- 
cate and  Tia  Juana.  Formerly  there  was  only  one — that  of  Ensenada. 
Colonel  Cantu  has  established  his  official  headquarters  at  Mexicali, 
where  he  spends  the  greater  part  of  the  year,  and  at  intervals  makes  of- 
ficial visits  to  the  other  municipalities. 

Communication  between  the  various  populated  districts  is  made  by 
means  of  the  "Camino  Nacional,"  which  unites  Mexicali,  Tecate,  Tia 
Juana  and  Ensenada.  Part  of  this  road  from  Ensenada  north,  connect- 
ing with  Tia  Juana  and  Tecate,  had  already  been  constructed,  but  was 
found  in  bad  condition  and  at  places  for  long  stretches  had  been  aban- 
doned for  new  routes.  From  Tecate  to  Mexicali  all  of  the  road  is  the 
work  of  Colonel  Cantu's  government.  It  lacks  completion  only  for  a 
distance  of  about  a  mile,  where  it  was  necessary  to  tunnel  through  solid 
rock,  and  dynamite  for  the  operation  could  not  be  secured  from  the 
United  States. 


NORTHERN  DISTRICT  OF  LOWER  CALIFORNIA 


299 


Mexicali,  Tia  Juana,  Tecate  and  Ensenada  have  been  joined  by  tele- 
phone and  telegraph  lines,  which  at  this  date  have  been  in  good  working 
order  for  several  months.  At  the  present  time  there  are  to  be  completed 
telegraphic  and  telephone  connections  with  the  port  of  San  Felipe,  all 
to  be  in  place  probably  in  May  of  this  year  (1918)!.  The  communication 
from  the  district  to  the  continental  portion  of  Mexico  by  an  all-Mexi- 
can route  will  be  by  way  of  the  port  of  San  Felipe,  to  which  place  there 
will  be  opened  soon  a  railroad  or  automobile  road,  as  the  circumstances 
of  the  moment  require.  As  has  been  already  mentioned,  the  stretch  from 
San  Felipe  on  is  about  to  be  bridged  by  telephone  and  telegraph  lines. 

Since  San  Felipe  is  at  the  upper  head  of  the  Gulf  of  California,  it 
will  be  possible  to  arrange  an  easy  route  to  the  ports  of  Sonora  and 
Sinaloa  and  to  the  center  of  the  republic  without  need  of  passing 
through  the  United  States. 

These  results  are  in  a  large  way  the  outcome  of  the  government  of 
Colonel  Cantu.  They  are  works  of  great  importance  for  Lower  Califor- 
nia, and  redound  much  to  the  honor  of  a  young  man  who,  without 
former  experience  of  government,  at  the  most  trying  times  for  the 
Mexican  republic,  was  able  to  undertake  them. 

LIFE  OF  COLONEL  ESTEBAN  CANTU 

Colonel  Cantu  was  born  in  Linares,  State  of  Nuevo  Leon,  on  the 
27th  day  of  November,  1880,  his  parents  being  Don  Juan  Antones 
Cantu  and  Dona  Francisca  Jimenez  de  Cantu.  He  studied  first  in  the 
government  primary  schools  at  Linares  and  by  himself,  bookkeeping 
and  other  subjects  not  being  given  there.  He  afterwards  moved  to  Mor- 
elia,  Michoacan,  where  he  entered  private  classes  that  prepared  stu- 
dents to  enter  the  military  college  at  Chapultepec.  He  remained  in  Mor- 
elia  until  December,  1897. 

In  January,  1898,  he  satisfactorily  passed  the  examination  for  en- 
trance to  the  military  school  whose  courses  he  followed  during  1898  and 
1899  and  1900,  preparing  himself  in  army  tactics.  At  the  end  of  this 
period  he  entered  the  army  as  lieutenant  of  the  12th  regiment  of  cavalry 
at  Monterey.  He  served  in  this  organization  during  1901,  and  at  its 
close  was  commissioned  as  instructor  of  army  reserves  at  Guadalupe 
and  Calvo,  Chihuahua,  where  he  remained  permanently  until  the  end  of 
1902.  From  there  he  was  removed  to  Huejincar,  Jalisco,  where  the  same 


300 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


duties  were  assigned  him  and  at  the  end  of  1903  he  discontinued  defin- 
itely field  work  as  instructor  of  reserves.  He  was  removed  to  Sonora  at 
the  end  of  1903,  to  take  part  in  the  campaigns  against  the  Yaquis,  and 
he  remained  there  until  the  end  of  1906. 

ARRIVAL  AT  MEXICALI ;  DIFFICULTIES 

After  acting  in  Sonora,  Captain  Cantu  was  located  at  various  places 
in  the  Republic,  serving  in  different  military  capacities,  and  was  raised 
to  the  rank  of  major  in  191 1,  when  F.  L.  de  la  Barra  was  president  and 
Francisco  I.  Madero,  principal  adviser  of  the  government.  At  the  end 
of  May,  191 1,  by  order  of  the  secretary  of  war,  he  took  command  of  a 
portion  of  the  17th  regiment  of  infantry  which,  at  that  time,  was  com- 
manded by  Colonel  Renaldo  Diaz.  The  commander  of  the  17th  regiment 
received  orders  to  send  two  companies  to  Mexicali  to  occupy  the  north- 
ern district  of  Lower  California,  where  it  was  feared  a  secession  move- 
ment would  break  out.  These  companies  came  to  Lower  California 
under  command  of  Lieut.  Colonel  Fidencio  Gonzales  and  Major  Cantu, 
crossing  American  territory,  and  they  entered  Lower  California  at  Mex- 
icali the  26th  day  of  June,  191 1.  The  same  day  Lieut.  Col.  Gonzales  left 
for  Tia  Juana  and  left  Major  Cantu  as  chief  of  the  garrison  of  the 
town  in  command  of  100  men. 

Thereupon  he  encountered  a  difficult  situation  which  required  the  aid 
of  the  elements  on  which  he  was  counting  and  which  was  won  only  by 
his  resolution  and  coolness.  The  principal  land  companies  who  had  con- 
cessions from  the  central  government  organized  a  body  of  volunteers 
for  the  defense  of  their  interests.  This  body  was  commanded  by  Ro- 
dolfo  F.  Gallegas  and  was  composed  of  300  effective  soldiers,  even 
though  it  appears  to  have  less  than  200.  As  soon  as  Lieutenant- 
Colonel  Gonzales  left  for  Tia  Juana,  Major  Cantu  took  notice  that  the 
body  of  volunteers  did  not  accept  willingly  the  arrival  of  the  troops 
and  he  thought  that  they  intended  to  rise  up  against  him  on  the  night 
of  the  21st,  kill  him  and  incite  a  secession  movement  as  soon  as  this 
occurred.  Major  Cantu  called  Gallegas  and  had  a  conversation  with 
him  in  which  Gallegas  assured  him  that  he  was  a  friend  of  the  govern- 
ment and  that  the  people  would  not  be  hostile  toward  Cantu  and  he 
placed  himself  at  Cantu's  orders. 

Major  Cantu  then  ordered  him  to  concentrate  the  volunteers  at  his 


NORTHERN  DISTRICT  OF  LOWER  CALIFORNIA 


301 


military  headquarters  which  was  in  front  of  the  Inter-California  sta- 
tion at  the  south  side  and  that  there  he  would  see  them. 

At  the  hour  indicated,  Major  Cantu  went  to  the  headquarters,  leav- 
ing his  people  prepared  in  their  places  under  command  of  Captain 
Gabriel  Rivera.  On  arriving  there  he  found  that  the  volunteers  had  not 
received  orders  to  reassemble.  He  then  ordered  them  to  be  called  and 
they  commenced  to  arrive,  some  armed  and  others  without  arms,  for 
they  had  them  hidden  in  different  places  in  the  small  town.  He  spoke  to 
the  revolutionists  a  little  while  and  he  saw  that  there  lived  in  them  the 
spirit  of  rebellion,  showing  itself  upon  seeing  themselves  reunited;  that 
the  majority  were  not  Mexicans  but  people  of  the  frontier  who  have  no 
fixed  nationality. 

He  ordered  them  to  lay  down  their  arms  and  commanded  his  own 
men  to  be  called,  twenty  of  whom  came  under  command  of  Captain 
Rivera  himself.  When  the  volunteers  realized  what  was  happening  the 
troops  were  upon  them  and  they  did  not  make  a  movement.  The  major 
placed  sentinels,  manned  a  guard,  and  proceeded  immediately  to  dis- 
miss the  volunteers  save  only  a  few  more  than  twenty  whom  he  incor- 
porated with  his  people. 

THE  SPIRIT  OF  REBELLION  CONTINUES 

Those  volunteers  whom  he  incorporated  into  his  troops  of  the  17th,  car- 
ried to  his  ranks  the  idea  of  rebellion  and  began  from  then  on  to  make 
in  the  barracks  seditious  propaganda. 

Captain  Gabriel  Rivera,  Manuel  Campos  and  Sergeant  Salvador 
Raminez  were  under  Major  Cantu.  Then  there  was  an  Indian  from 
Ixtlan  who  served  as  assistant  to  him  and  was  called  Jacinto  Mora 
Nova.  He  was  aware  of  the  criminal  intents  of  a  great  part  of  the 
troops.  Whenever  he  went  to  the  barracks  he  was  received  by  hostile 
looks  from  the  soldiers  and  the  information  which  the  assistant  gave 
him  was  valuable. 

The  situation  was  difficult  since  he  was  isolated  completely  from 
Mexico  and  without  hopes  of  receiving  help  from  any  part,  for  he  was 
ignorant  of  the  fact  that  men  from  the  8th  and  25th  infantry  were  com- 
ing to  his  aid.  The  information  which  the  assistant  gave  him  was  that 
the  troops  wished  to  rebel  and  kill  him  and  that  the  leaders  were  in 
accord  with  the  people  of  the  American  side,  who  were  the  ones  that 


302 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


instigated  them  and  were  trying  to  incite  a  movement  toward  separation. 
At  last  one  day  he  said  to  him  that  the  plot  had  matured  to  such  a 
point  that  during  the  night  there  would  be  an  uprising  and  they  would 
assassinate  him.  The  signal  would  be  given  in  Calexico  by  the  discharg- 
ing of  a  pistol.  Finally  he  told  him  exactly  the  names  of  a  sergeant,  a 
corporal  and  20  soldiers  who  were  the  ones  who  would  strike.  This  was 
taking  place  on  the  8th  of  September,  191 1. 

Major  Cantu  took  a  list  of  all  his  men  and  marked  on  it  the  names  of 
the  conspirators,  sending  it  to  Captain  Rivera  with  orders  that  he  should 
direct  all  in  formation  and  under  arms  to  the  command  of  the  sergeant. 
The  moment  had  arrived  for  great  resolution.  He  decided  to  play  all 
for  all,  to  lose  his  life  or  save  the  situation. 

Captain  Rivera  was  astounded  with  the  order  which  seemed  to  him 
unreasonable,  but  nevertheless  he  was  a  man  of  discipline  and  did  what 
was  told  him.  Very  soon  the  conspirators  arrived  at  the  lodging  of  the 
major  which  was  the  waiting  room  of  the  Inter-California  railway,  and 
at  that  time  the  only  habitable  place  in  Mexicali. 

He  placed  them  in  formation  and  spoke  to  them  in  the  plain  and  elo- 
quent simplicity  of  a  true  captain.  He  confronted  them  with  the  treason 
which  they  were  about  to  commit  against  him  and  their  country  which 
had  sent  them  to  that  desert,  isolated  from  all  communication,  that  they 
should  commit  a  crime. 

"Here  you  have  me  alone,  unarmed,"  he  said  to  them. 

"Kill  me.  Here  is  your  leader,  assassinate  him." 

The  troops  remained  stationary. 

"You  wish  to  betray  your  country.  Very  well,  kill  me  and  betray  it 
if  you  are  bad  Mexicans." 

Behind  Major  Cantu  was  a  small,  tricolor  flag,  a  sacred  symbol  which 
seemed  to  tremble  under  emotion  upon  hearing  that  vibrating  call.  The 
faces  began  to  blanch.  Finally  one  of  the  conspirators  spoke  and  said 
that  he  repented  of  his  intentions. 

Things  now  were  in  his  favor,  the  better  thought  prevails,  the  plot 
was  crushed. 

Colonel  Cantu  had  been  awake  since  2  o'clock  in  the  morning.  The 
heat  of  the  season,  the  watchfulness  and  the  difficult  situation  had  tried 
him.  He  said  to  the  repentant  conspirators : 

"Now,  I'm  going  to  sleep  and  you  are  going  to  watch  over  me.  You 


NORTHERN  DISTRICT  OF  LOWER  CALIFORNIA  303 

are  going  to  care  for  your  chief.  If  you  still  care  to  kill  me  you  can  do 
it  while  I  am  sleeping." 

He  manned  the  guard.  He  told  one  of  the  men  that  he  should  fix  him 
a  bed  and  then  he  retired.  Upon  waking  the  troops  were  watching.  The 
hour  indicated  by  the  conspirators  who  were  on  foreign  soil  had  passed. 
These  had  given  the  signal  agreed  upon  but  all  had  been  useless  upon 
the  hearts,  which  he  knew  had  spoken  to  them  of  honor,  duty  and  pa- 
triotism. The  young  commander  who  had  shown  that  in  truth  he  was 
such,  called  the  guard  and  took  his  leave  as  usual  and  sent  the  soldiers 
to  their  barracks.  Those  who  went  out  enemies  returned  enthusiastic 
friends  of  that  real  gentleman  whose  reputation  began  to  grow.  It 
spread  from  the  barracks  and  flowed  in  all  directions,  forming  an  aura 
of  sympathy  and  popular  appreciation  which  later  must  make  of  him  a 
governor. 

FORCES  ARRIVE  FROM  MEXICO 

On  the  following  day,  that  is,  the  19th  day  of  September,  191 1,  in  which 
Major  Cantu  had  saved  the  difficult  situation  which  has  just  been  re- 
lated and  without  his  foreknowledge  or  expectation,  two  hundred  and 
fifty  men  arrived  from  Mexico  from  the  25th  regiment  of  infantry  un- 
der Colonel  Francisco  Vasquez. 

The  25th  regiment,  which  had  furnished  such  good  service  to  Colonel 
Cantu  and  which  is  now  the  state  troops  of  the  northern  district,  was 
at  the  beginning  of  191 1  on  garrison  duty  in  the  territory  of  Quintaui 
Roo.  When  the  trouble  broke  out  in  Lower  California  the  central  gov- 
ernment called  the  regiment  to  the  capital  of  the  republic  and  after  a 
brief  rest  sent  it  to  Lower  California.  It  set  sail  from  the  port  of  Man- 
zanilla  for  Ensenada  on  December  25th,  and  made  the  trip  over  the 
mountains  to  Mexicali.  At  that  time  Colonel  Vasquez  was  still  com- 
mander of  the  25th  and  the  captain  of  the  2nd  was  the  present  Lieuten- 
ant-Colonel Hipolito  Barranco,  now  commander-in-chief. 

Almost  at  the  same  time  that  the  25th  arrived  in  Mexicali  came 
forces  from  the  8th  regiment  to  Algodones,  under  command  of  Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Juan  Vasquez,  brother  of  Colonel  Francisco  Vasquez. 
Upon  the  arrival  of  the  25th,  Colonel  Vasquez  was  chief  of  the  garri- 
son at  Mexicali,  and  as  he  left  in  October,  Major  Cantu  again  assumed 
the  command.  At  that  time  there  was  organized  a  troop  of  cavalry  under 


3°4 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


command  of  Major  Cantu  which,  by  order  of  the  government,  took  the 
name  of  its  leader  and  has  ever  since  been  called  "Esteban  Cantu."  Also 
this  organization  still  serves  in  the  northern  district  of  Lower  Cali- 
fornia. 

At  the  end  of  1912  Major  Cantu  received  permission  to  make  a  trip 
to  Monterey  to  visit  his  family ;  but  he  did  not  make  it,  because  he  was 
called  to  Ensenada  by  the  military  commander,  General  Cordillo  Escu- 
dero,  who  advised  him  to  pursue  Tirso  de  la  Tora,  who  was  operating 
very  close  to  Tecate.  De  la  Tora  had  an  encounter  with  the  government 
troops  near  the  ranch  "To  Topo,"  where  his  followers  were  scattered, 
he  going  into  the  United  States. 

From  the  end  of  1912  until  the  middle  of  1913  Major  Cantu  remained 
in  Tecate  as  chief  of  the  garrison  and  later  was  sent  to  Mexicali.  While 
Lieutenant-Colonel  Augustin  Laguno  was  in  command.  Colonel  Juan 
Lojero  followed  him  in  command. 

COLONEL  CANTU  MILITARY  COMMANDER 

We  now  come  to  the  month  of  August,  1914,  the  month  that  will  be 
famous  in  the  history  of  Mexico  because  in  that  month  the  routine  of 
the  old  political  life  of  the  nation  was  changed  definite,  and  it  will  be 
famous  also  for  Lower  California,  because  at  the  rebounding  here  of 
the  sensational  happenings  of  the  capital  of  the  republic,  the  life  of  the 
peninsula  also  suffered  a  radical  change  which  coincided  with  the  ac- 
cession of  Colonel  Cantu  to  a  prominent  place  in  public  affairs. 

Being  chief  of  the  plaza  of  Mexicali,  the  said  Colonel  Lojero  and 
Colonel  Cantu,  his  subordinate  officer,  Lieutenant  Jose  Cantu,  brother 
of  the  Colonel,  came  to  Calexico.  Lieutenant-Colonel  Cantu  brought  to 
his  brother  the  news  that  the  revolution  had  triumphed  completely, 
that  Carbajal  had  gone  from  Mexico  and  that  the  federal  regiment  was 
to  be  disbanded  in  the  city  of  Puebla,  things  that  so  far  were  not  known. 
At  a  moment  of  noble  frankness  and  comradeship,  Colonel  Cantu  re- 
peated to  Lojero  the  conversation  he  had  had  with  his  brother,  which 
was  enough  to  frighten  Lojero  and  without  considering  that  Colonel 
Cantu  was  a  perfect  gentleman,  believed  him  capable  of  deceiving  him. 
Lojero  was  so  frightened  that  he  suggested  to  Vasquez  the  shooting  of 
Colonel  Cantu.  This  shooting  did  not  take  place  because  the  persons 


NORTHERN  DISTRICT  OF  LOWER  CALIFORNIA 


30S 


charged  with  fulfilling  the  order  refused,  knowing  the  unimpeachable 
honor  of  the  colonel. 

Things  were  thus  when  Lieutenant-Colonel  Fortunato  Tenonio  de- 
nounced General  Francisco  Vasquez  at  Ensenada.  The  imprisonment 
of  this  man  and  his  brother,  Juan,  and  the  election  of  Municipal  Presi- 
dent David  Tarate  to  be  chief  administrator  by  the  town  of  Ensenada 
also  took  place. 

Lojero  passed  from  fear  to  terror  and  fled  from  Mexicali,  leaving 
the  garrison  without  a  commander.  There  then  followed  a  series  of  ne- 
gotiations between  some  officials  of  the  garrison  at  Mexicali  and 
Colonel  Cantu,  who  had  succeeded  in  obtaining  his  retirement  from  the 
army,  disgusted  with  the  imprudence  of  Lojero. 

Colonel  Cantu  was  in  Calexico  and  the  officials  called  him  to  Mexi- 
cali. The  Colonel  refused  to  come  because  he  did  not  wish  to  be  an 
active  factor  in  the  local  disturbances,  but  when  his  fellow  soldiers  ex- 
plained to  him  the  difficult  situation  of  the  city  and  its  garrison  and 
explained  that  he  was  the  only  one  who,  by  his  prestige  with  the  troops 
and  the  people  was  able  to  save  the  day,  he  resolved  to  put  himself  at 
the  front  of  the  troops  as  he  did  on  the  29th  of  August,  1914. 

With  the  imprisonment  of  Vasquez  and  the  flight  of  Lojero  the 
army  officer  of  the  highest  rank  remaining  in  the  district  was  Colonel 
Cantu ;  the  garrison  recognized  him  at  once  as  their  commander,  the 
colonel  having,  by  virtue  of  the  facts  stated,  arrived  to  be  in  military 
command  and  later  the  political  situation  was  so  established  that  tran- 
quillity reigned. 

But  the  former  prestige  of  the  colonel  and  the  excellent  way  in 
which  he  exercised  command  of  the  town  which  gave  him  fame  in 
the  district  made  him  stand  out  as  a  brilliant  figure,  as  Zarata  never 
did,  so  that  little  by  little  he  came  to  be  in  fact  governor  of  the  entire 
region.  When  the  convention  of  Aguascalientas  was  organized  it  was 
believed  there  that  from  it  would  emanate  the  government  of  the  unified 
nation  and  a  representative  was  sent  who  was  to  see  things  in  close 
quarters,  to  study  the  situation  nationally  from  the  center  of  the  re- 
public and  to  cement  this  district  with  the  nation,  for  it  was  never 
Colonel  Cantu's  intention  to  raise  a  local  flag. 

This  representative,  instead  of  carrying  out  his  commission  in  the 
manner  indicated,  conferred  with  Jose  Maria  Maytorema,  who  was 


3o6  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

governor  of  Sonora,  and  in  accord  with  him  and  brought  with  him  as 
civil  governor,  one  Baltazar  Aviles. 

THE  ARRIVAL  OF  AVILES 

Aviles  established  himself  in  Ensenada  in  September,  1914,  while 
Colonel  Cantu  remained  stationed  in  Mexicali,  as  military  commander 
since  the  convention  had  not  touched  upon  the  matter  of  this  appoint- 
ment. Aviles  began  a  series  of  abuses  and  persecutions  which  pro- 
voked a  general  discontent  among  the  people  and  the  troops  of  the  gar- 
risen.  The  people  as  well  as  the  soldiers  and  a  great  part  of  the 
officials  looked  upon  Colonel  Cantu  as  the  only  man  capable  of  saving 
that  disastrous  situation. 

Aviles  and  Lieutenant-Colonel  Arnulfo  Cervantes,  then  commander 
of  the  25th  regiment,  worked  in  perfect  accord  with  Aviles.  They  sep- 
arated themselves  little  by  little  from  the  colonel,  making  silent  war  as 
well  on  those  who  sympathized  with  him,  parties  who  were  then  in 
Ensenada:  Barranco  (then  major)' captain  and  later  major,  and  Doctor 
Hipolito  Jauregin  had  great  influence  among  the  soldiers  of  the  25th. 
The  conspirators  plotted  to  rid  themselves  of  the  25th  battalion  in  order 
to  deprive  Colonel  Cantu  of  elements  of  order  to  the  extent  that  they 
resolved  to  send  it  to  Guaymas.  They  embarked  the  troops  on  board  the 
steamer  Herrerias,  on  November  28,  1914.  Commander  Miranda  was 
in  charge  of  the  ship  and  Cervantes  embarked  with  the  battalion.  This 
was  done  without  the  knowledge  of  Colonel  Cantu,  who  was  the  mili- 
tary commander.  The  Herrerias  sailed  to  the  south  and  upon  crossing 
Magdalena  Bay  met  up  with  an  American  merchant  boat  which  stopped 
and  signaled  the  Herrerias,  that  it  should  stop  also.  When  the  boats 
were  alongside  the  American  commander  informed  Miranda  that  the 
day  before  the  gunboat  Guerrero,  headed  northwest,  had  sailed  from 
Mazatlan  and  that  there  it  was  said  that  the  gunboat  was  going  to  take 
the  Herrerias  in  tow  and  imprison  all  the  troops.  Cervantes,  who  was 
at  that  time  merely  a  pirate  and  the  victim  of  the  designs  of  Aviles, 
said  nothing,  and  Miranda,  without  consulting  anyone,  turned  the  ship 
about  and  returned  to  Ensenada,  where  it  arrived  at  night  on  the  30th 
day  of  November. 


NORTHERN  DISTRICT  OF  LOWER  CALIFORNIA 


END  OF  GOVERNMENT  OF  AVILES 


307 


When  the  Herrerias  arrived  at  Ensenada  its  passengers  learned  the 
news  that  Miguel  Santa  Cruz  was  chief  of  the  town  at  the  head  of  an 
armed  mob.  Aviles,  seeing  that  the  situation  was  beyond  his  scope,  had 
fled  to  Tia  Juana,  getting  together  all  the  money  he  could.  Lieutenant- 
Colonel  Cervantes  left  the  ship  and  got  into  communication  with  Aviles. 
He  sent  an  order  to  the  ship  that  the  battalion  should  be  released  and 
had  Major  Barranco  arrested  as  well  as  Captain  Escudero  and  Doctor 
Jauregin.  Aviles  also  ordered  the  detention  of  Cervantes  and  again  tried 
to  escape  from  Ensenada  to  Tia  Juana,  being  threatened  by  Santa  Cruz, 
who  asked  him  for  money  with  which  to  pay  off  the  troops. 

Santa  Cruz  took  the  prisoners  and  with  them  followed  the  steps  of 
Aviles  and  pretended  that  he  intended  to  shoot  them  in  Ensenada,  Sau- 
zal,  Vallecitos,  Cerro  Colorado  and  Tia  Juana,  in  the  latter  place  at  the 
international  line  in  a  place  where  still  remains  the  stables  of  the  Hip- 
podrome and  where  his  jurisdiction  ceased  because  when  they  arrived 
at  the  city  of  Tia  Juana,  they  found  that  Colonel  Justina  Mendiota  had 
not  entered  into  the  plans  of  Aviles  and  had  remained  faithful  to 
Colonel  Cantu.  It  seems  that  Santa  Cruz  never  intended  to  shoot  the 
prisoners  but  to  hold  them  as  hostages  to  sever  the  good  will  of  Colonel 
Cantu. 

In  the  meantime  in  Ensenada,  there  being  no  leader  to  put  himself 
at  the  head  of  the  garrison,  Lieutenant-Colonel  Arnulfo  San  Germain, 
Judge  Advocate,  took  "accidental"  command,  and  at  once  took  the  side 
of  Colonel  Cantu. 

Colonel  Cantu  then  left  with  troops  to  put  down  the  uprisings  of 
Santa  Cruz  and  Aviles.  When  he  arrived  at  Tia  Juana  it  was  not  neces- 
sary to  fire  a  single  shot  because  the  majority  of  the  revolutionists  fled, 
or  abandoned  their  arms  and  declared  themselves  for  the  party  of  order. 

With  the  flight  of  Aviles  and  Santa  Cruz  terminated  the  misfortunes 
and  misgovernment  of  the  northern  district  of  Lower  California,  for 
Colonel  Cantu  was  invested  by  the  people  and  soldiers  with  the  office 
of  civil  leader  and  military  commander  which  he  held  until  the  time  he 
was  made  governor. 

With  the  foregoing  words  ends  the  recital  of  the  culminating  deeds 
of  the  military  career  of  Colonel  Cantu  and  explains  his  entrance  into 


3o8  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

political  life.  If  the  deeds  of  the  valiant  soldier,  worshipper  of  duty 
and  patriotism  are  admirable,  very  admirable  are  also  the  deeds  less 
strenuous  but  equally  important  of  the  statesman,  organizer,  lover  of 
public  weal,  and  enthusiast  for  throwing  himself  into  every  progressive 
enterprise. 

The  contents  of  this  biography  of  Colonel  Cantu  deals  with  the  lesser 
and  earlier  activities  of  this  young  military  and  political  leader  and  ex- 
plains with  sufficient  details  the  campaign  of  the  colonel  in  Lower  Cali- 
fornia and  how,  at  first,  he  began  to  have  an  influence  in  the  life  of  this 
region ;  how  later  he  came  to  be  the  leader  of  its  remarkable  economic 
development. 

At  the  same  time  nothing  is  said  here  of  the  administrative  activities 
of  Colonel  Cantu,  of  those  to  which  he  fully  dedicated  himself  as  soon 
as  peace  was  established  and  his  government  consolidated. 


Part  II 
BIOGRAPHICAL 


BIOGRAPHICAL 

CHARLES  ROBINSON  ROCKWOOD.— It  has  been  the  portion  of 
this  honored  and  representative  citizen  of  Imperial  County,  California, 
to  gain  more  than  a  usual  quota  of  experience  as  a  pioneer  of  the  West 
and  especially  Southern  California,  and  he  has  marked  the  passing 
years  with  worthy  accomplishment.  He  has  had  many  experiences, 
which  give  him  a  wonderful  store  of  interesting  reminiscences.  Genial, 
kindly,  generous  and  broad  minded,  he  is  held  by  the  closest  of  ties  to 
a  veritable  army  of  friends,  and  as  the  first  man  and  permanent  settler 
in  the  beautiful  Imperial  Valley,  as  well  as  one  who  has  contributed  in 
splendid  measure  to  the  development  and  upbuilding  of  this  favored 
section,  he  is  specially  entitled  to  be  called  the  "Father  of  Imperial 
County."  Charles  Robinson  Rockwood  was  born  on  a  farm  near  Flint, 
Michigan,  May  14,  i860.  His  parents  were  of  old  Puritan  stock.  His 
mother  was  a  descendant  of  John  Robinson,  who  was  the  organizer  of 
the  Mayflower  expedition  in  1620.  As  a  boy  Mr.  Robinson  became  in- 
ured to  the  arduous  duties  of  the  farm,  and  in  the  meanwhile  he  at- 
tended the  primitive  schools  of  his  home  neighborhood.  He  thus  laid 
the  solid  foundation  for  the  broad  fund  of  knowledge  which  he  has 
gained  through  self -discipline.  Bent  upon  having  a  better  education,  he 
entered  the  high  school  of  Flint,  Michigan,  at  the  age  of  fifteen  and 
graduated  at  the  head  of  his  class  in  1878.  His  father  being  unable  to 
furnish  him  with  sufficient  money  to  continue  his  education,  Mr.  Rock- 
wood  borrowed  funds  and  entered  the  University  of  Michigan  in  the 
fall  of  1878,  and  took  a  course  in  engineering.  He  studied  too  hard  and 
his  eyes  failed  him  before  he  finished.  For  three  months  he  was  obliged 
to  wear  a  bandage  while  at  study.  Finally  he  was  obliged  to  quit  the 
university  and  get  out  into  the  open.  On  May  13,  1881,  he  left  home  and 
went  to  Denver,  Colorado.  This  was  the  day  before  his  twenty-first 
birthday.  Upon  reaching  Denver  he  became  identified  with  the  engi- 
neering department  of  the  Denver  and  Rio  Grande  Railway  as  assist- 
ant engineer.  The  first  engineering  work  done  by  Mr.  Rockwood  was 


312 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


on  the  Blue  and  Grand  rivers  in  Colorado.  The  following  winter  he 
made  a  survey  in  Utah,  down  the  Green  River,  the  other  great  tribu- 
tary of  the  Colorado.  In  1882  he  came  to  California  and  entered  the 
services  of  the  Southern  Pacific  Railway.  His  first  work  in  their  service 
was  in  July,  1882,  when  he  went  to  Yuma  and  from  there  up  the  Col- 
orado to  the  Needles,  and  from  there  on  surveyed  (under WilliamHood, 
chief  engineer)  to  Mojave  and  across  the  Mojave  Desert.  Mr.  Rock- 
wood  remained  in  the  employ  of  the  Southern  Pacific  until  1889.  Dur- 
ing 1889-1890  he  served  as  assistant  engineer  in  the  U.S.  Geological 
Survey  on  the  first  irrigation  investigations  undertaken  by  the  Govern- 
ment. 1 890- 1 892  he  was  chief  engineer  for  the  Northern  Pacific  Rail- 
road in  a  project  to  irrigate  the  Yakima  Valley,  Washington.  He  left 
the  Yakima  Valley  in  October,  1892,  and  came  to  the  Colorado  Desert 
for  the  Arizona  and  Sonora  Land  and  Irrigation  Company  to  investi- 
gate the  Sonora  project  of  that  concern.  He  reported  unfavorably  on 
that  project  and  turned  his  attention  to  the  canals  in  Lower  California 
and  California,  since  known  as  the  Imperial  Valley.  Rockwood's  re- 
ports on  this  project  being  favorable,  the  Denver  company  decided  to 
go  ahead  with  it,  and  organized  the  Colorado  River  Land  and  Irriga- 
tion Company  for  this  purpose.  This  company  failed  in  the  panic  of 
1893,  and  in  1895  Mr.  Rockvvood  decided  to  undertake  the  promotion 
of  the  project,  organizing  for  this  purpose  the  California  Development 
Company.  He  found  the  work  of  financing  an  irrigation  project  in  the 
Colorado  Desert  more  difficult  than  he  anticipated,  but  after  numerous 
failures,  succeeded  in  starting  construction  in  August,  1900.  He  re- 
mained with  the  work  as  chief  engineer  until  1906,  when  due  to  the 
breaking  into  the  Valley  of  the  entire  river,  the  project  was  thrown 
under  the  control  of  the  Southern  Pacific  Railroad  Company,  and  Mr. 
Rockwood  resigned.  From  1906  to  1909  he  lived  in  Los  Angeles,  devel- 
oping land  interests  in  the  Valley  and  fighting  the  Southern  Pacific 
Company  to  get  something  for  himself  and  associates  out  of  the  stock 
of  the  California  Development  Company,  which  failed,  the  stockhold- 
ers never  receiving  a  cent.  Mr.  Rockwood  was  identified  with  the 
oil  and  railroad  development  work  in  the  Santa  Maria  Valley.  As  chief 
engineer,  he  located  and  built  the  Santa  Maria  Valley  Railroad.  In 
November,  1914,  he  returned  to  the  Imperial  Valley  as  chief  engineer 
and  general  manager  of  the  Imperial  Irrigation  District,  remaining  in 


C,^-& 


^U4St<3 


BIOGRAPHICAL 


313 


this  capacity  until  January  1,  1917.  The  work  now  being  projected  is 
practically  all  in  the  plans  outlined  by  Mr.  Rockwood.  He  is  now  en- 
gaged for  himself  in  developing  a  nine-thousand-acre  cotton  ranch 
under  the  canal  system  in  Lower  California.  Mr.  Rockwood  was  twice 
married,  the  first  union  being  to  Katherine  Davenport  of  Vacaville, 
California.  To  this  union  one  daughter  was  born,  Estelle,  born  in  1888. 
The  second  marriage  occurred  in  1906  to  Mrs.  Mildred  Cassin,  a  na- 
tive of  St.  John,  New  Brunswick,  Canada.  In  his  political  views  Mr. 
Rockwood  is  a  Republican,  but  has  never  aspired  to  office. 

CHARLES  L.  DAVIS  was  born  in  Mayne  County,  Iowa,  April  18, 
1870,  a  son  of  Thomas  Jefferson  and  Emiline  (Shrom)  Davis.  His 
father  was  a  school  teacher  and  farmer,  and  his  death  occurred  No- 
vember 14,  1884.  Mr.  Davis'  mother  died  June  3,  1881.  Charles  L.,  the 
subject  of  this  review,  received  his  education  in  the  public  schools  of 
Rock  Island  County,  Illinois,  and  Leavenworth  County,  Kansas,  and 
San  Joaquin  Valley,  California.  At  the  age  of  eighteen  Mr.  Davis  came 
to  California  and  located  in  Fresno.  While  a  resident  of  that  city,  he 
took  two  terms  in  the  school  of  complete  steam  engineering.  He  oper- 
ated a  threshing  outfit  in  various  places  and  naturally  grew  in  to  the 
blacksmith  trade.  He  has  been  in  Southern  California  since  1903,  and  in 
1908  Mr.  Davis  came  to  Imperial  Valley.  He  found  employment  with 
the  Southern  Pacific  Railroad  as  watchman,  and  in  the  sheriff's  office 
in  El  Centro  and  city  marshal's  office  in  Holtville  and  El  Centro.  He 
removed  to  Calexico  in  September,  1916,  and  now  is  the  sole  proprietor 
of  the  valley  blacksmith  shop.  In  connection  with  his  shop  Mr.  Davis 
carries  a  line  of  agricultural  implements.  In  his  political  affiliations  he 
votes  the  Democratic  ticket,  but  has  never  aspired  to  office.  Fraternally 
he  is  a  member  of  Court  No.  33,  I.  O.  F.,  of  Los  Angeles,  Califor- 
nia. Mr.  Davis  was  married  to  Nannie  M.  Bradley,  a  native  of  Indiana, 
February  14,  1914,  and  her  death  occurred  June  20,  1916.  There  was 
one  child  born  to  Mrs.  Davis  by  a  former  marriage,  Marvel,  the  wife  of 
Victor  L.  Cook  of  Salt  Lake  City,  Utah.  Mr.  Davis  is  a  member  of  the 
Calexico  chamber  of  commerce  and  takes  an  active  part  in  matters  per- 
taining to  the  welfare  of  Calexico  and  Imperial  County. 

HENRY  A.  STAHL. — Among  the  business  men  of  Imperial  County, 
and  especially  one  who  has  been  identified  with  the  upbuilding  of  a 


314 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


greater  Brawley,  is  Henry  A.  Stahl,  a  member  of  the  firm  of  Stahl 
Brothers  Company,  one  of  the  largest  and  most  metropolitan  stores  in 
Southern  California.  Henry  A.  Stahl  is  vice  president  of  the  firm  and 
has  been  actively  identified  with  the  mercantile  life  of  the  county  since 
1903.  He  was  born  in  Winesburg,  Ohio,  March  21,  1879,  a  son  of 
Valentine  J.  and  Elizabeth  (Frankhauser)  Stahl,  both  residing  in 
Winesburg,  Ohio.  His  father  is  now  in  his  eighty-first  year  and  his 
mother  is  seventy-six.  Henry  A.  acquired  his  education  in  the  public 
schools  of  his  native  town.  At  the  age  of  sixteen  he  started  out  in  life 
and  worked  at  Akron,  Ohio,  in  the  rubber  works  of  that  city.  In  1901 
he  came  west,  teaching  school  and  doing  manual  labor.  With  his  broth- 
ers, Charles,  William,  Edward,  John  and  Fred,  the  brothers  were  en- 
gaged in  leveling  land  for  the  large  crops  which  were  to  be  planted. 
Stahl  Brothers  leveled  about  one  thousand  acres  of  land  adjacent  to 
Brawley,  and  they  were  the  first  to  have  an  interest  in  the  corn  crop, 
which  was  planted  on  the  site  where  Brawley  is  situated  and  which 
was  an  unbroken  desert.  In  1906,  Stahl  Brothers  opened  a  modest  dry 
goods  and  gents'  furnishing  store,  and  by  fair  business  methods  the 
store  has  grown  to  be  one  of  the  leading  establishments  of  its  kind  in 
the  county.  The  subject  of  this  review  owns  and  cultivates  one  hun- 
dred and  ten  acres  which  is  planted  to  corn  and  potatoes.  Fraternally 
he  is  a  member  of  the  K.  of  P.  of  Brawley.  He  was  married  in  Braw- 
ley, California,  December  20,  1909,  to  Miss  Minnie  A.  Garber,  a 
daughter  of  Mr.  and  Mrs. Samuel  Garber.  Mrs.  Garber's  death  occurred 
in  February,  1910,  and  is  buried  in  the  Brawley  Cemetery.  One  daugh- 
ter blessed  this  union,  Ellen  Elizabeth,  born  July  31,  1913.  When  Mr. 
Stahl  came  to  what  is  now  the  flourishing  city  of  Brawley,  there  were 
two  adobe  houses  and  a  few  tent  houses.  He  has  thus  contributed  to  the 
industrial  and  civic  progress  of  this  favored  section  of  the  county. 

HARRY  N.  DYKE. — One  of  the  essentially  able  and  representative 
members  of  the  bar  of  Imperial  County  is  Harry  N.  Dyke,  who  is  now 
filling  the  office  of  city  attorney,  with  offices  in  Imperial.  The  oldest  of 
two  children  born  to  Eugene  B.  and  Emily  (Gilbert)  Dyke,  his  mother 
is  now  residing  in  San  Diego  and  in  her  sixty-fifth  year,  Mr.  Dyke's 
birth  occurred  in  Iowa  in  1873.  Eugene  B.  Dyke  was  a  man  of  high 
mental  attainments  and  widely  known  throughout  Iowa  as  a  brilliant 


BIOGRAPHICAL  315 

and  successful  journalist.  For  a  full  quarter  of  a  century  he  was  edi- 
tor of  the  Charles  City  Intelligencer,  of  which  he  kept  complete  files, 
rendering  the  paper  especially  useful  for  reference  when  questions  of 
moment  arose  in  regard  to  public  or  private  affairs.  He  was  an  able 
and  fearless  writer,  and  his  death,  which  occurred  in  1897,  was  a  dis- 
tinct loss  to  the  community  and  to  the  journalistic  world,  as  well  as  to 
his  immediate  family.  Brought  up  in  Iowa,  Harry  N.  Dyke  acquired  his 
elementary  knowledge  in  the  public  schools,  after  leaving  the  high 
school  entering  the  law  department  of  the  State  University  of  Iowa, 
from  which  he  was  graduated  with  the  class  of  1896.  He  was  admitted 
to  the  bar  the  same  year,  and  began  the  practice  of  law  in  Iowa.  After 
the  death  of  his  father  he  assumed  the  management  of  the  Charles  City 
Intelligencer,  with  which  he  was  identified  for  four  years.  In  1901,  de- 
ciding that  the  extreme  West  was  the  proper  place  for  an  ambitious 
young  man  to  begin  his  career,  Mr.  Dyke  came  to  California,  and  in 
1902  located  in  the  Imperial  Valley,  settling  here  in  pioneer  days.  He 
took  up  one  hundred  and  sixty  acres  of  wild  desert  land,  but  ere  he  had 
made  many  improvements  sold  it  at  an  advantage.  In  1904,  when  Impe- 
rial became  incorporated,  Mr.  Dyke  had  the  honor  of  being  elected  the 
first  city  clerk,  and  held  the  office  continuously  until  1910.  For  three 
years  he  served  as  secretary  of  the  Imperial  Chamber  of  Commerce, 
and  for  a  brief  period  was  justice  of  the  peace.  He  is  now  devoting 
himself  to  his  profession,  and  as  an  attorney  has  built  up  a  good  pat- 
ronage in  Imperial  and  vicinity.  Mr.  Dyke  married,  in  1898,  Adele 
Hammer,  and  they  have  one  child,  a  daughter  named  Dorothy. 

JAMES  W.  CASS  has  gained  distinction  in  the  Valley  owing  to  his 
mechanical  skill  and  ability  in  handling  automobile  repair  work.  He  is 
a  native  son  and  his  birth  occurred  in  Stockton,  March  8,  1886,  son  of 
Charles  L.  and  Lenie  (Stevens)  Cass,  deceased.  His  father  died  in 
Stockton,  May,  1917,  and  is  buried  in  Stockton.  His  mother  died  Feb- 
ruary 18,  1907,  and  was  buried  in  the  Odd  Fellows'  Cemetery  in  San 
Francisco,  California.  James  W.  acquired  his  education  in  the  public 
schools.  He  started  out  in  life  at  an  early  age.  He  engaged  in  the  ex- 
press and  draying  business  in  Vallejo,  and  in  San  Francisco,  and  fol- 
lowed this  vocation  for  two  years.  He  engaged  in  the  tea  and  coffee 
business  for  a  time,  and  at  the  age  of  twenty-one  he  learned  the  auto- 


3i6  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

mobile  trade,  which  he  has  since  followed.  In  1912,  Mr.  Cass  came  to 
Imperial  Valley  out  of  curiosity.  He  did  not  intend  to  remain,  but  see- 
ing the  possibilities,  he  opened  his  present  concern,  which  is  the  larg- 
est in  the  city.  Owing  to  his  expert  mechanical  skill,  his  business  grew 
to  such  an  extent  he  had  to  eliminate  the  selling  of  gasoline  and  chang- 
ing tires.  Mr.  Cass  has  employed  as  high  as  eight  first-class  mechanics. 
Fraternally  he  is  a  member  of  the  Masonic  Lodge  of  Imperial.  In  poli- 
tics he  votes  for  the  man,  irrespective  of  party.  He  was  married  in  Los 
Angeles,  California,  January  29,  1908,  to  Miss  Ethel  Bell  Chamberlain, 
daughter  of  Riley  Chamberlain,  a  prominent  actor  in  the  east ;  his  death 
occurred  in  1916.  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Cass  have  four  children:  Marjorie  E., 
born  February  18,  1912;  Jennie  C,  born  November  1,  1914;  Halbert  S., 
born  March  30,  1916,  and  Rena,  born  August  10,  1917.  Mr.  Cass  has 
a  vast  amount  of  energy  and  enterprise  and  has  a  host  of  friends  both 
in  business  and  socially. 

ENOS  J.  NORRISH. — The  efficient  and  popular  justice  of  the  peace 
and  recorder  of  the  thriving  city  of  Holtville,  came  to  Imperial  County 
in  September,  1904.  He  is  one  of  the  representative  men  and  loyal  citi- 
zens of  his  locality.  Mr.  Norrish  was  born  in  Ontario,  Canada,  March 
22,  1 861,  a  son  of  Joshua  and  Elizabeth  Norrish.  His  father  passed 
away  at  the  age  of  seventy-six  and  his  mother  resides  in  Toronto,  Can- 
ada, and  is  now  in  her  ninety-second  year.  The  family  records  on  both 
sides  of  the  house  go  back  to  old  English  ancestry.  The  subject  of  this 
review  received  his  education  in  the  public  schools  of  Canada.  He  en- 
tered the  normal  school  of  Canada  and  graduated  at  the  age  of  twenty- 
three.  He  taught  school  for  several  years  in  various  places  and  when 
he  took  up  his  residence  in  the  town  of  Imperial,  he  was  made  princi- 
pal of  the  school,  serving  for  four  years,  this  being  the  first  school  in 
Imperial.  Mr.  Norrish  possessed  unbounded  faith  in  the  agricultural 
possibilities  of  Imperial  County,  and  removed  to  Holtville.  Here  he 
purchased  a  fine  ranch  and  brought  it  up  to  a  high  state  of  cultivation. 
He  erected  substantial  buildings  and  still  resides  on  the  ranch.  He  en- 
gaged in  alfalfa  growing  for  years  when  he  changed  the  crop  to  cotton. 
Mr.  Norrish  is  at  present  clerk  of  the  high  school  board  of  Holtville, 
and  serves  as  a  member  of  the  county  board  of  education.  Fraternally 
he  is  a  member  of  the  K.  of  P.  of  Holtville.  He  was  united  in  marriage 


BIOGRAPHICAL  317 

to  Miss  Grace  Beckett  of  St.  Catharines,  Ontario,  April  19,  1889,  a 
daughter  of  Mr.  and  Mrs.  William  Beckett,  both  deceased.  Mrs.  Nor- 
rish's  father  was  buried  near  Effingham,  Canada,  and  her  mother  was 
buried  at  Santa  Ana,  California.  To  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Norrish  have  been 
born  two  children:  Ernest  S.,  now  in  the  engineering  corps  with  the 
United  States  Army  at  Camp  Lewis ;  Agnes  E.  is  at  present  attending 
high  school.  In  choosing  its  representatives  for  various  official  positions 
the  city  of  Holtville  is  fortunate  in  having  a  man  whose  former  record 
has  been  clearly  established.  Mr.  Norrish  has  shown  himself  to  be  a 
capable  public  official.  He  has  a  wide  circle  of  friends  and  acquaint- 
ances among  Imperial  County's  best  citizenship. 

OTTO  CLOYD  BRACKNEY  is  one  of  the  representative  business 
men  of  Brawley,  and  his  business  methods  demonstrate  the  power  of 
his  activity  and  honesty  in  the  business  world.  He  was  born  July  18, 
1882,  at  Auglaize  County,  Ohio,  son  of  Louis  M.  and  Mary  A.  Brack- 
ney.  His  father  and  mother  were  both  natives  of  Ohio,  and  raised  four 
children,  all  of  whom  reside  in  Ohio  except  the  subject  of  this  review. 
Otto  C.  acquired  his  education  in  the  public  schools  of  his  home  coun- 
ty. His  father  was  a  farmer  and  Otto  C.  assisted  on  the  home  place 
until  he  became  of  age.  Leaving  home  at  twenty-one,  he  went  to  Cleve- 
land and  found  employment  as  fireman  on  the  C.  &  P.  R.  R.,  until  he 
was  twenty-three.  For  two  years  he  ran  the  electric  light  plant  at  Belle- 
fontaine,  Ohio,  and  during  1905-06  he  was  identified  with  the  F.  N. 
Johnson  wholesale  grocery  company  of  Bellefontaine.  He  then  ran  on 
the  Bellefontaine  and  Springfield  electric  line  until  1907.  In  September 
of  that  year  he  landed  in  Spokane,  Washington,  where  he  found  em- 
ployment in  the  fruit  business  until  1909.  Returning  east,  he  went  with 
the  Standard  Oil  Company,  and  the  following  year  he  returned  to  Ro- 
salia, Washington,  where  he  took  charge  of  the  Niles  and  Brackney 
Fruit  Packers  Association.  In  January,  1912,  Mr.  Brackney  came  to 
Brawley,  where  he  engaged  in  the  auto  truck  draying  business  with 
Andy  Bodine  for  one  year.  From  1913-15  he  engaged  in  auto  hauling 
for  himself.  Disposing  of  his  large  auto  trucks  and  business,  he  return- 
ed east  for  a  four  months'  visit.  Returning  to  Brawley,  he  was  asso- 
ciated with  Taylor-Hart  Hardware  Company  for  a  year,  when  on  De- 
cember 5,  1916,  he  engaged  in  the  automobile  tire  and  accessory  busi- 


318  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

ness  and  took  over  the  Buick  agency.  On  August  I,  1917,  Mr.  F.  F. 
Palmerlee  purchased  one-half  interest  in  the  Buick  and  G.  M.  C.  Truck 
agency.  On  January  1,  1918,  the  firm  took  over  all  the  territory  in  Im- 
perial Valley  for  the  Buick  and  G.  M.  C.  trucks.  Mr.  Brackney  was 
united  in  marriage  June  5,  1910,  to  Emma  Mae  Glunk,  a  native  of 
Washington,  and  daughter  of  John  B.  and  Emma  Mae  Glunk;  her 
father  was  one  of  the  pioneers  of  Whitman  County  and  has  been  a 
resident  of  that  section  for  thirty-five  years.  He  has  large  land  hold- 
ings and  is  connected  with  stock  raising.  To  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Brackney 
have  been  born  one  son.  Otto  Cloyd,  Jr.,  born  September  22,  1916.  Mrs. 
Brackney  is  active  in  the  Presbyterian  church  and  socially  is  a  favorite 
in  Brawley  and  Imperial  County. 

CHARLES  W.  ALLISON  is  prominently  identified  with  the  business 
interests  of  Imperial.  He  is  a  stockholder,  assistant  manager  and  treas- 
urer of  the  Pacific  Land  and  Cattle  Company,  located  at  Imperial  since 
1915.  Mr.  Allison  was  born  in  Indianapolis,  Indiana,  October  6,  1887, 
a  son  of  Mr.  and  Mrs.  W.  D.  Allison,  resident  of  that  city.  Mr.  Allison 
acquired  his  schooling  in  the  public  schools  and  in  the  Wabash  Col- 
lege at  Crawfordsville,  Indiana.  He  engaged  with  his  father  who  was 
identified  with  the  furniture  business.  Charles  W.  was  traveling  sales- 
man and  for  several  years  he  traveled  all  over  the  United  States.  For 
two  years  Mr.  Allison  was  engaged  in  the  real  estate  business  in  Cal- 
gary, Canada.  He  returned  to  Indianapolis  and  again  became  associat- 
ed with  his  father  in  the  furniture  line,  remaining  until  he  came  west 
and  is  now  identified  with  the  Pacific  Land  and  Cattle  Company.  Mr. 
Allison  was  united  in  marriage  with  Miss  Hazel  Lathrop,  November 
26,  1914,  daughter  of  George  A.  Lathrop,  general  manager  of  the  Pa- 
cific Land  and  Cattle  Company,  and  also  manager  of  the  Consolidated 
Water  Company  of  Pomona,  California.  To  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Allison  have 
been  born  two  children:  David  Lathrop,  born  December  16,  1915,  and 
Janice  Aline,  born  June  30,  1917. 

HARRY  E.  GATES  has  been  identified  with  business  interests  of 
Brawley  since  February,  1914.  He  was  born  in  Leadville,  Colorado, 
March  30,  1883,  a  son  of  Lester  A.  and  Mary  (Newman)  Gates.  His 
father  was  a  pioneer  of  Colorado  and  now  resides  in  Denver.  Mr. 


BIOGRAPHICAL 


319 


Gates'  mother  passed  away  in  1887,  and  is  buried  in  Leadville,  Colo- 
rado. Mr.  Gates  received  his  education  in  Denver  and  Leadville,  gradu- 
ating from  high  school  in  1900.  He  then  attended  Sacred  Heart  College 
of  Denver  for  one  year.  He  started  to  learn  the  plumbing  business  in 
Colorado  Springs  and  Denver,  Colorado,  where  he  was  employed  for 
several  years.  He  engaged  in  business  in  Galena,  Kansas,  for  a  period 
of  three  years,  when  he  came  to  California  and  located  in  Brawley. 
Here  he  worked  at  his  trade  for  one  year  when  he  engaged  in  business 
for  himself.  His  years  of  experience  in  the  business  have  made  him 
thoroughly  versed  in  ever}'  department  of  his  work  and  he  has  made 
a  success  in  every  way.  He  employs  three  expert  mechanics  and  keeps 
in  touch  with  every  new  invention  relative  to  his  business.  Fraternally 
Mr.  Gates  is  a  Mason,  being  a  member  of  the  Blue  Lodge  of  Galena, 
Kansas.  He  is  a  member  of  the  B.  P.  O.  E.  and  is  Past  Esteemed  Lead- 
ing Knight.  He  is  also  a  member  of  the  K.  of  P.  and  Eagles  lodge.  Mr. 
Gates  was  married  at  Galena,  Kansas,  June  16,  1907,  to  Miss  Ollie 
Nichols,  a  daughter  of  Mr.  and  Mrs.  William  B.  Nichols,  both  de- 
ceased, and  buried  in  Galena,  Kansas.  Mr.  Gates  installed  the  plumbing 
in  the  Brawley  high  school,  also  the  steam  heating  plant  in  the  First 
National  Bank  and  hotel  at  Calipatria.  He  also  had  the  contract  for  the 
hot  water  heating  in  the  Brawley  grammar  school.  Mr.  Gates  is  a  thor- 
ough mechanic,  a  public-spirited  man  and  has  the  confidence  and  es- 
teem of  his  fellowmen. 

DONALD  DOOL,  one  of  the  men  of  Imperial  County,  who,  by  reason 
of  his  personal  integrity,  is  recognized  as  one  of  the  leading  men  of 
Calexico.  He  was  born  in  Aledo,  Illinois,  April  23,  1892,  a  son  of  Ed- 
ward and  Anna  (Irwin)  Dool.  Mr.  Dool's  father  is  one  of  the  com- 
manding figures  of  the  business  life  of  Calexico,  and  he  has  made 
steady  progress  towards  prominence,  and  is  today  largely  connected 
with  the  agricultural  interests  of  Imperial  County.  The  subject  of  this 
review  acquired  his  education  in  the  public  and  high  schools  of  Los 
Angeles,  California.  He  afterwards  entered  Stanford  University,  and 
graduated  in  civil  engineering  in  191 5.  The  parents  of  Mr.  Dool  came 
to  California  in  1903,  and  located  in  Los  Angeles.  His  father  came 
to  Imperial  County  and  took  up  six  hundred  and  forty  acres.  He  af- 
terwards purchased  one  hundred  and  sixty  acres.  All  the  land  is  in 


320 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


cotton.  Mr.  Dool  returned  from  college  and  took  up  engineering  for 
a  time  and  was  appointed  postmaster  at  Calexico,  January  13,  1917, 
and  took  office  March  1,  1917.  Politically  he  is  affiliated  with  the  Dem- 
ocratic party. 

WAYNE  H.  COMPTON  is  distinguished,  not  only  for  his  able  assist- 
ance in  the  development  of  agricultural  and  horticultural  resources  of 
Imperial  County,  but  is  a  representative  business  man  of  California. 
He  is  a  man  of  great  energy  and  intensity  of  purpose.  Mr.  Compton 
has  taken  a  keen  interest  in  the  whole  county,  and  has  been  honored 
with  the  position  of  secretary  of  the  Chamber  of  Commerce,  which 
position  he  has  had  since  May,  1917.  He  was  born  in  Middleport,  New 
York,  December  6,  1887,  a  son  of  Squire  T.  and  Mary  (McClean) 
Compton,  a  representative  family  of  their  locality.  Wayne  H.  ac- 
quired his  education  in  the  Staunton  Military  Academy,  Virginia,  the 
Middleport,  New  York,  high  school  and  the  Bryant  Stratton  Business 
College  in  Buffalo,  New  York.  Later  he  attended  the  University  of 
Buffalo,  where  he  took  a  law  course.  In  1908  he  traveled  extensively 
for  business  and  education,  largely  in  the  West,  and  in  191 1  came  to 
Imperial  County  and  associated  himself  with  the  Seely  Townsite  Com- 
pany, taking  charge  of  the  sales  department  until  1914,  when  he  be- 
came connected  with  the  Imperial  Valley  Chamber  of  Commerce  until 

1915.  Early  in  1915  he  took  charge  of  the  Imperial  Valley's  interests 
at  the  Panama-Pacific  International  Exposition  at  San  Francisco.  Mr. 
Compton  represented  seven  counties  of  Southern  California  at  the  San 
Diego  Exposition.  At  the  close  of  the  fair  he  returned  to  Imperial  Val- 
ley and  took  charge  of  the  bond  campaign  department  of  the  Irriga- 
tion District,  which  he  successfully  conducted  for  the  improvement  of 
the  great  Imperial  irrigation  system,  which  amounted  to  $2,500,000, 
and  at  the  conclusion  of  this  campaign  he  was  tendered  and  accepted 
the  position  of  secretary  of  the  El  Centro  Chamber  of  Commerce, 
which  was  established  originally  in  1909.  Mr.  Compton  is  a  member  of 
the  Delta  Chi  Fraternity  of  Buffalo,  the  Masonic  Lodge,  and  a  mem- 
ber of  the  B.  P.  O.  E.  Politically  he  is  a  Democrat.  He  was  united  in 
marriage  to  Estelle  M.  James  in  San  Diego,  California,  August  18, 

1916.  The  marriage  occurred  in  the  famous  blue  room  of  the  Southern 
Counties  building  at  the  exposition. 


BIOGRAPHICAL 


321 


FORREST  F.  PALMERLEE.— In  recording  the  names  of  the  promi- 
nent business  men  of  Imperial  County,  mention  should  be  made  of  For- 
rest F.  Palmerlee,  who  well  merits  the  title  of  self-made  man.  He  was 
born  at  Spangle,  Washington,  November  6,  1885,  son  of  Frank  D.,  and 
Ida  A.  Palmerlee.  His  father  was  a  native  of  Dodge  Center,  Minnesota, 
and  his  mother  was  born  in  Napa  County,  California.  The  subject  of 
this  review  acquired  his  education  in  the  public  schools  of  Washington 
and  California.  Leaving  Washington  State  his  parents  removed  to 
Santa  Rosa,  California.  Mr.  Palmerlee's  father  is  deceased,  his  death 
occurred  in  September,  1915.  His  mother  resides  in  Long  Beach,  Cali- 
fornia. Finishing  his  public  school  education,  Forrest  F.  took  a  business 
course  and  later  became  identified  with  the  San  Pedro  Lumber  Com- 
pany at  Long  Beach  as  stenographer  for  eleven  months.  He  then  be- 
came associated  with  the  First  National  Bank  of  Long  Beach,  Califor- 
nia, as  assistant  bookkeeper  for  six  months.  He  then  went  with  the 
Citizens  Savings  Bank  of  Long  Beach  as  bookkeeper,  where  he  re- 
mained for  two  years.  In  February,  1907,  he  removed  to  Imperial 
County,  and  accepted  a  position  with  the  Calexico  State  Bank,  and 
afterward  was  expert  accountant  for  the  county  for  six  months.  He 
then  went  with  the  Imperial  Valley  Bank  at  Brawley,  as  cashier,  and  in 
December,  1909,  the  First  National  Bank  was  organized  and  Mr.  Pal- 
merlee accepted  the  position  as  cashier.  This  position  he  held  until 
January  1,  1918,  when  he  took  an  interest  with  Otto  C.  Brackney  in  the 
Buick  and  G.  M.  C.  truck  agency  for  Imperial  Valley.  Mr.  Palmerlee 
was  married  November  15,  1906,  to  Miss  Marguerite  E.  Steiner,  a  na- 
tive of  Texas.  To  this  union  has  been  born  one  son,  Marvin  Glenn,  born 
August  8,  1912.  Mr.  Palmerlee  was  appointed  city  commissioner  in  Oc- 
tober, 1916.  He  served  as  city  treasurer  for  a  period  of  two  years.  Mr. 
Palmerlee  is  much  esteemed  by  those  who  know  him  for  the  sterling 
character  of  manhood  and  his  good  business  capacity. 

BERKLEY  V.  EZELL  is  one  of  the  progressive  business  men  of  Im- 
perial Valley.  He  is  proprietor  of  the  Ezell  Sheet  Metal  Works  at  645 
Main  Street,  El  Centra.  He  was  born  at  Mexia,  Texas,  January  28, 
1883,  a  son  of  John  and  Jennie  (Berkley)  Ezell.  His  father  passed 
away  in  1884,  and  his  mother  resides  in  Berkeley,  California.  Mr. 
Ezell  acquired  a  limited  education  in  the  public  schools  at  Stevensville, 


322  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

Texas.  At  an  early  age  he  started  to  learn  his  trade.  He  followed  his 
vocation  working  in  Texas  and  New  Mexico,  and  in  1903  he  removed 
to  Los  Angeles,  where  he  worked  for  the  Southern  California  Supply 
Company  for  a  period  of  five  years.  In  1908,  he  engaged  in  business 
for  himself  and  continued  for  one  year.  He  then  worked  for  the  Col  ton 
Hardware  Company,  where  he  remained  until  he  came  to  El  Centro, 
where  he  established  business  March  1,  1913.  Here  he  has  met  with 
business  success.  Mr.  Ezell  manufactures  all  kinds  of  sheet  metal  work, 
such  as  skylights,  cornice  work,  tanks  for  water  systems.  He  also  does 
heating  and  ventilating  systems.  He  installed  the  heating  system  in  the 
El  Centro  High  School  and  many  other  important  buildings  in  the  Val- 
ley. Mr.  Ezell  has  a  ranch  and  has  improved  it  and  will  put  it  in  cotton 
this  season.  Mr.  Ezell  was  twice  married,  the  first  union  being  to  Del- 
la  Baker,  and  her  death  occurred  at  Colton,  California.  To  this  mar- 
riage there  were  two  children :  Madeline,  born  January  6,  1906,  and 
Vivian,  born  June  21,  1909.  The  second  marriage  occurred  at  Colton, 
California,  January  3,  1913,  to  Florence  Forsee,  a  daughter  of  Mr. 
and  Mrs.  Samuel  Forsee,  who  reside  in  San  Diego,  California.  Two 
children  have  been  born  of  the  second  union:  Clyde  Berkley,  born 
January  19,  1914,  and  Herbert  W.,  born  June  6,  1916.  Mr.  Ezell  has 
been  gratified  with  success  in  the  business  world  and  he  and  his  wife 
have  a  host  of  friends  in  El  Centro. 

J.  C.  HARCLEROAD,  who  enjoys  recognition  as  one  of  the  lead- 
ing and  enterprising  business  men  of  El  Centro,  has  won  merited  suc- 
cess. He  is  engaged  in  the  automobile  business  and  is  proprietor  of  the 
Buick  Garage  at  Sixth  and  State  streets.  He  was  born  in  Plattsville, 
Wisconsin,  August  11,  1886,  a  son  of  J.  M.  and  Alma  (Burris)  Harcle- 
road.  The  subject  of  this  review  acquired  his  education  in  the  public 
schools,  after  which  he  entered  the  University  of  Wisconsin,  graduat- 
ing in  the  class  of  1907,  and  receiving  the  degree  of  B.  M.  He  then 
became  identified  with  the  engineering  department  of  the  Buick  Auto- 
mobile Company,  which  position  he  held  until  1912,  when  he  came  to 
California  and  was  connected  with  the  sales  department  of  the  Buick 
for  a  period  of  one  year.  Mr.  Harcleroad  came  to  Imperial  County  in 
1913,  locating  in  El  Centro.  He  purchased  the  property  where  he  is 
now  located  and  now  has  the  exclusive  agency  for  the  Buick  automo- 


BIOGRAPHICAL 


323 


bile  in  Imperial  County.  Fraternally  Mr.  Harcleroad  is  a  member  of 
the  B.  P.  O.  E.  He  was  united  in  marriage  in  Lancaster,  Wisconsin,  to 
Miss  Minnie  M.  Wright,  May  21,  191 1,  daughter  of  Mr.  and  Mrs.  J.  S. 
Wright,  who  are  numbered  among  the  prominent  and  representative 
families  of  Lancaster,  Wisconsin.  To  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Harcleroad  have 
been  born  two  children,  Eleanor  and  John  James.  The  family  resides  at 
642  Hamilton  Street,  and  enjoys  the  acquaintance  of  a  host  of  friends. 

GEORGE  W.  ALLEN  is  numbered  among  the  representative  business 
men  of  El  Centro.  The  opportunities  that  Imperial  County  offers  to 
men  of  enterprise  are  nowhere  better  exemplified  than  in  the  successful 
career  of  George  W.  Allen.  He  was  born  on  a  farm  near  Paoli,  Orange 
County,  Indiana,  a  son  of  John  D.  and  Lucinda  (Sutherland)  Allen. 
He  received  his  education  in  the  public  schools  where  he  was  born.  He 
later  attended  the  normal  school  at  Mitchell,  and  later  at  Paoli,  Indi- 
ana. At  the  age  of  twenty-four  he  taught  at  the  Clemens  School  in 
Orange  County,  Indiana.  Later  he  was  made  principal  of  the  schools 
at  New  Lebanon,  Indiana,  remaining  in  that  position  for  two  years. 
He  purchased  a  farm  in  Sullivan  County,  Indiana,  where  he  person- 
ally cultivated  and  looked  after  his  place  until  1903.  He  then  came  to 
California  and  located  at  Riverside,  where  he  engaged  in  the  paint  and 
wall  paper  business.  Later,  disposing  of  his  business,  he  traveled  for 
some  time,  then  removed  to  Imperial  County  and  rented  a  ranch  of 
ten  acres  and  by  intensified  farming  of  the  place,  made  a  clear  profit 
the  first  year  of  $800.  He  then  engaged  in  the  building  and  construction 
work  in  which  he  made  a  success,  after  which  he  again  engaged  in 
ranching  for  a  time,  but  owing  to  the  poor  state  of  his  health  he  was 
obliged  to  go  to  Hot  Springs.  Returning  to  El  Centro,  Mr.  Allen  en- 
gaged in  the  real  estate  and  loan  business,  which  has  been  profitable. 
Fraternally  he  is  a  member  of  the  I.  O.  O.  F.  of  Riverside,  California. 
In  politics  he  is  a  Democrat.  Mr.  Allen  was  twice  married,  the  first 
union  being  to  Miss  Bell  Funk,  of  Sullivan  County,  Indiana.  To  this 
union  were  born  two  daughters,  Erma,  wife  of  James  Garrison  of  Car- 
lisle, Indiana,  and  Harriett,  a  graduate  of  the  University  of  California, 
wife  of  James  C.  Bradley,  of  Ceres,  California.  The  second  mar- 
riage took  place  in  September,  1899,  and  five  children  have  been  born 
to  this  union:  Arthur  L.,  Goldie  R.,  Helen,  Eva  and  Woodrow  Mar- 


324 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


shall.  Mr.  Allen's  great-grandfather  was  Ethan  Allen,  of  Revolution- 
ary fame,  and  on  his  mother's  side  was  the  Warren  family  of  Vermont, 
also  of  Revolutionary  fame. 

GEORGE  W.  ANDERSON. — Energy  and  progressive  spirit  have 
brought  George  W.  Anderson  to  a  position  of  prominence  and  dis- 
tinction among  the  representative  men  of  Imperial  County.  He  is  presi- 
dent of  the  Imperial  Valley  Hardware  Company  in  El  Centro,  and  has 
had  that  office  since  the  amalgamation  of  the  El  Centro  Hardware  & 
Implement  Company  and  the  Anderson  &  Meyer  Company,  January 
i,  1913.  Mr.  Anderson  was  born  in  St.  Marys,  Kansas,  August  26, 
1882,  a  son  of  George  F.  and  Louise  O.  (Fletcher)  Anderson.  His 
father  was  identified  with  the  hardware  and  furniture  business  at  St. 
Marys,  Kansas,  for  many  years.  He  was  one  of  the  pioneers  of  that 
locality  and  was  numbered  among  the  substantial  and  representative 
men  of  his  day.  The  father  of  Mr.  Anderson  passed  away  in  1902  and 
his  mother  died  in  1917.  George  W.,  the  subject  of  this  review,  received 
his  education  at  the  Washburn  College  at  Topeka,  and  received  the 
degree  of  B.  S.  Socially  he  is  a  member  of  the  Phi  Delta  Theta,  a  col- 
lege fraternity.  In  1904  he  came  to  California  and  located  in  San  Diego 
for  a  few  months,  then  went  to  Alaska,  where  he  followed  mining  for 
a  time.  This  venture  proved  partially  successful,  but  he  did  not  care 
to  remain  in  Alaska  long,  and  returned  to  San  Diego,  where  he  en- 
gaged with  the  firm  of  Samuel  Gordon-Ingle  company,  later  known  as 
Hazard-Gould  Company.  Under  Hazard-Gould  Company,  Mr.  Ander- 
son became  manager  of  the  wholesale  department.  Later  he  and  Mr. 
Howard  P.  Meyer  came  to  the  Imperial  Valley  and  purchased  the 
hardware  and  grocery  store  of  King  L.  Kendle  of  Holtville,  forming 
the  Anderson  &  Meyer  Company  on  June  30,  1908.  February,  1909, 
they  purchased  the  hardware  and  furniture  store  of  G.  W.  McCollum 
at  Calexico,  where  Mr.  Anderson  remained  for  three  and  one-half 
years.  After  the  consolidation  of  the  Anderson  &  Meyer  Company  and 
the  El  Centro  Hardware  Company,  Mr.  Anderson  moved  to  El  Centro 
and  became  president  and  general  manager  of  the  Imperial  Valley 
Hardware  Company.  This  firm  now  operates  seven  stores  in  the  Valley. 
Fraternally  Mr.  Anderson  is  affiliated  with  the  Masonic  Order.  He  is  a 
thirty-second  degree  Scottish  Rite  Mason  and  a  Knight  Templar,  and 


BIOGRAPHICAL 


325 


a  member  of  the  Shrine.  He  is  also  a  member  of  the  El  Centro  Cham- 
ber of  Commerce.  Mr.  Anderson  was  united  in  marriage  in  Los  Ange- 
les March  15,  191 3,  to  Miss  Edith  Mae  Cliff,  a  daughter  of  John  C 
Cliff,  who  was  largely  identified  with  the  livestock  business  for  many 
years,  and  now  retired.  The  ancestors  of  both  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Anderson 
are  of  colonial  stock.  In  business  Mr.  Anderson  has  the  confidence  and 
esteem  of  those  with  whom  he  has  been  associated  and  of  all  who 
are  in  any  way  connected  with  him. 

ADOLPHUS  M.  SHENK.— The  opening  of  the  Imperial  Valley 
brought  settlers  from  every  state  of  the  union :  north,  south  and  east 
contributing  to  the  citizenship  of  the  fertile  section.  Adolphus  M. 
Shenk,  one  of  the  men  who  has  participated  in  the  transformation  of 
this  region,  the  development  of  which  seems  almost  magical,  has  by  his 
own  efforts  and  abilities  overcome  the  difficulties  atendant  upon  the 
settlement  of  a  new  community,  and  by  his  industry,  perseverance  and 
capacity  for  affairs  of  breadth  and  importance,  has  worked  his  way  to 
a  position  of  prominence  and  is  recognized  as  one  of  the  important 
and  representative  business  men  of  Imperial  County.  His  birth  oc- 
curred in  Omaha,  Nebraska,  January  12,  1882,  a  son  of  John  W.  and 
Susan  C.  (Brooks)  Shenk.  His  father  is  a  native  of  New  York  State, 
while  his  mother  was  born  in  New  Jersey.  The  parents  of  Adolphus  M. 
were  married  in  Cape  May,  New  Jersey,  October  27,  1867,  and  their 
golden  wedding  anniversary  was  celebrated  in  Pasadena  at  the  home 
of  his  son,  Hon.  John  W.  Shenk,  Superior  Judge  of  Los  Angeles,  Cali- 
fornia. There  were  in  attendance  four  sons  and  two  daughters.  The 
father  of  the  subject  of  this  review  was  born  in  Cobleskill,  Schoharie 
County,  New  York,  January  20,  1842.  His  wife  was  Susanna  Cane 
Brooks,  and  she  was  born  in  Tuckahoe,  Cape  May  County,  New  Jersey, 
February  25,  1844,  an(i  married  by  Rev.  William  A.  Brooks,  Mrs. 
Shenk's  father.  She  was  always  very  active  in  missionary  work  and 
she  was  state  organizer  of  the  Woman's  Foreign  Missionary  Society 
of  the  Methodist  Church  in  Nebraska.  Mr.  Shenk's  father  is  a  gradu- 
ate of  the  Garrett  Biblical  Institute,  Northwestern  University,  1865, 
and  received  the  degree  of  B.  D.,  in  1865.  He  was  sent  to  South  Ameri- 
ca and  from  1866  to  1867  he  was  junior  pastor  of  the  M.  E.  Church  of 
Buenos  Aires.  He  held  many  important  offices  in  the  church  in  different 


326  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

parts  of  the  country.  He  was  editor  of  the  Omaha  Christian  Advocate 
in  1899.  He  received  the  degree  of  doctor  of  divinity  from  Nashville, 
Tennessee,  in  1889.  His  literary  productions  include  "Higher  Criticism 
and  the  Christ,"  published  in  New  York  in  1906.  Mr.  Shenk  was  spend- 
ing the  winter  in  Los  Angeles  of  1899-1900.  In  April  of  1900  he  and 
his  wife,  accompanied  by  Sam  Ferguson,  a  real  estate  man,  took  the 
Southern  Pacific  train  for  the  Imperial  Valley.  They  drove  from  Flow- 
ing Well  and  crossed  the  Colorado  Desert  and  camped  forty  miles 
from  the  railroad,  where  Calexico  is  located,  the  next  day.  Rev.  Shenk 
took  up  sixteen  hundred  acres  of  land,  a  half  section  for  himself  and 
wife  and  his  three  sons,  being  the  first  locators  of  government  land  in 
Imperial  Valley.  Adolphus  M.  acquired  his  education  in  the  public  and 
high  schools  of  Omaha,  after  which  he  took  a  business  course,  graduat- 
ing from  the  latter.  He  took  up  stenography  and  followed  office  work 
two  years.  January  12,  1901,  he  came  to  Imperial  Valley  and  settled  on 
his  land  where  he  became  identified  with  ranching,  turning  the  first 
water  on  lands  for  the  purpose  of  irrigation  and  growing  the  first 
crops.  Mr.  Shenk  served  on  the  school  board  and  as  a  city  trustee.  He 
took  an  active  part  in  creating  the  County  of  Imperial.  He  is  now  iden- 
tified with  the  business  interests  of  Calexico  and  maintains  an  office  in 
the  postoffice  building  and  specializes  in  real  estate,  farming  and  loans. 
Mr.  Shenk  was  united  in  marriage  to  Bernice  B.  Riddle  of  Santa  Rosa, 
California.  To  this  union  have  been  born  two  children,  Joyce  and 
Janet.  Mrs.  Shenk  takes  an  active  part  in  the  social  circles  of  Calexico, 
and  is  a  member  of  Eastern  Star  and  the  Improvement  Club  of  Calex- 
ico. Mr.  Shenk  has  the  distinction  of  being  the  second  postmaster  ap- 
pointed in  Calexico,  and  served  in  this  capacity  for  five  years.  He  was 
manager  for  two  years  of  a  general  merchandise  store  and  since  his 
retirement  from  the  store  has  engaged  in  the  general  brokerage  busi- 
ness and  handles  a  large  percentage  of  the  loans  of  Imperial  Valley. 
Fraternally  Mr.  Shenk  is  affiliated  with  the  Masonic  Order,  being  a 
member  of  Blue  Lodge  and  Chapter.  He  is  also  a  member  of  the  I.  O. 
O.  F.  Lodge. 

PRESTON  B.  FULLER,  proprietor  of  the  King  Cotton  Hotel  at  Im- 
perial, came  to  the  Valley  in  1903,  and  being  possessed  of  progressive 
ideas,  has  managed  his  hotel  in  such  a  way  that  it  has  been  a  success- 


BIOGRAPHICAL 


327 


ful  venture.  Mr.  Fuller  has  been  proprietor  since  November  15,  1917. 
He  was  born  near  Topeka,  Kansas,  January  25,  1865,  son  of  Johnson 
M.  and  Mary  (Coaley)  Fuller.  The  parents  of  Mr.  Fuller  were  among 
the  sturdy  pioneers  who  located  near  Topeka  in  the  early  days.  Both 
parents  are  deceased  and  are  buried  in  Kansas.  The  family  are  of  Eng- 
lish origin,  and  came  to  America  at  a  very  early  date.  Mr.  Fuller's 
father  and  two  brothers,  Perry  and  Daniel,  fought  in  the  Civil  war  for 
four  years.  Preston  B.,  the  subject  of  this  review,  received  a  limited 
education.  He  assisted  on  the  home  place  and  attended  the  district 
school  of  Cherokee  County.  He  remained  at  home  until  1888.  He  then 
prospected  in  Colorado,  Arizona,  Nevada  and  California,  and  practi- 
cally followed  this  life  until  1891.  He  prospected  in  the  desert  counties 
of  California  from  1903  to  191 1.  He  then  took  up  one  hundred  and 
sixty  acres  of  land  at  Corizo  Creek,  and  his  land  is  the  only  holding 
in  the  Valley  which  has  a  running  stream  of  water.  This  is  on  the 
route  of  the  old  Butterfield  stage  route  and  part  of  the  old  adobe  station 
is  still  standing.  This  old  station  was  quite  a  noted  stopping  place  in 
the  old  days.  Mr.  Fuller  is  fortunate  in  having  this  stream  of  water,  as 
the  place  is  self-supporting  as  far  as  water  is  concerned.  Mr.  Fuller 
is  identified  with  the  stock  business.  Politically  he  is  a  Republican.  Mr. 
Fuller's  ranch  is  noted  for  its  hospitality.  He  never  charges  the  weary 
traveler  who  may  stop  there,  and  many  a  man  has  been  spared  his 
life  after  a  long  journey  over  the  desert  by  stopping  here.  Mr.  Fuller 
is  held  in  high  esteem  by  all  who  know  him. 

ROGER  MERRITT  LINEKIN  was  born  at  Vineland,  New  Jersey, 
March  16,  1880,  a  son  of  Orlando  and  Julia  (Merritt)  Linekin.  His 
father  followed  the  seas  and  for  many  years  was  a  sea  captain  and 
followed  this  vocation  practically  all  his  life.  He  was  in  the  merchant 
marine  service  and  visited  many  countries,  now  residing  in  New  York. 
The  family  is  of  old  American  descent,  but  originally  came  to  this 
country  from  France.  Roger  M.  acquired  his  education  in  the  public 
schools  of  New  Jersey.  Early  in  life  he  learned  the  shoe  manufacturing 
business,  which  he  followed  for  seventeen  years.  Coming  to  California, 
Mr.  Linekin  found  employment  with  the  Sperry  Flour  Company  of 
Los  Angeles,  where  he  remained  for  nearly  four  years.  In  1914  Mr. 
Linekin  removed  to  El  Centro  and  purchased  the  Suitotorium,  which 


328  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

business  he  has  since  conducted  with  gratifying  success.  Politically  he 
is  a  Republican.  Fraternally  he  is  a  member  of  the  M.  W.  O.  A.  Mr. 
Linekin  married  at  Vineland,  New  Jersey,  April  9,  1903,  Miss  Gertrude 
McAlister,  a  daughter  of  Mr.  and  Mrs.  William  H.  McAlister,  both 
deceased  and  buried  in  Bridgetown,  New  Jersey.  To  Mr.  and  Mrs. 
Linekin  was  born  one  daughter,  born  at  Camden,  New  Jersey,  Novem- 
ber 18,  1907. 

HERMAN  J.  SCHITTERER,  numbered  among  the  enterprising  and 
prosperous  business  men  of  Imperial  County,  is  the  name  that  heads 
this  review.  He  was  born  in  San  Diego,  California,  December  31,  1891, 
a  son  of  Herman  and  Elizabeth  (Newcomb)  Schitterer,  who  reside  in 
San  Diego,  his  father  being  one  of  the  representative  business  men  of 
that  city.  Herman  J.  acquired  his  education  in  the  public  schools  of  San 
Diego.  At  an  early  age  he  learned  the  jewelry  manufacturing  trade, 
which  vocation  he  has  always  followed.  When  Mr.  Schitterer  came  to 
El  Centro  it  was  impossible  to  secure  a  location,  and  when  the  annex 
to  the  Armstead  Building  was  completed  he  secured  a  location.  After 
being  in  El  Centro  one  week  he  secured  a  room  five  feet  wide  to  com- 
mence business.  With  a  small  capital  Mr.  Schitterer  commenced  busi- 
ness and  now  his  business  has  increased  to  one  of  the  important  indus- 
tries of  El  Centro,  for  he  is  the  only  jewelry  manufacturer  in  the 
Valley.  He  does  a  wholesale  as  well  as  retail  business,  and  he  is  fav- 
orably known  as  one  who  can  produce  exclusive  designs  and  produc- 
tions in  his  chosen  field.  Fraternally  he  is  a  member  of  Sunset  Lodge, 
I.  O.  O.  F.,  of  San  Diego,  California. 

NOLES  JAMES  MORIN  has  been  an  important  factor  in  the  busi- 
ness life  of  Brawley  since  191 1.  He  was  born  in  Chatham,  Ontario,  No- 
vember 15,  1874,  son  of  Lucian  and  Catherine  Morin.  His  father  was 
a  native  of  Canada  and  his  mother  came  from  Canada.  The  parents  re- 
moved to  Kansas  when  Noles  was  very  young.  He  was  reared  and 
attended  the  public  school.  He  learned  the  blacksmith  trade  partially 
with  his  father  during  his  boyhood  days,  and  finished  his  trade  in  the 
railroad  shops  of  the  Santa  Fe  and  Union  Pacific  railroads.  Mr. 
Morin  started  a  shop  and  it  has  increased  in  volume  of  business  until 
he  now  has  one  of  the  largest  and  best  equipped  plants  in  the  Im- 


BIOGRAPHICAL 


329 


perial  Valley.  He  does  general  blacksmith  work  and  specializes  in  au- 
tomobile repairing.  He  was  married  in  Prescott,  Arizona,  to  Nellie 
Sanderfur,  December  29,  1907,  a  daughter  of  Allen  and  Jane  Sander- 
fur.  Mr.  Morin  has  a  ten  acre  orange  grove  in  Monrovia,  California, 
which  has  been  brought  up  to  a  high  state  of  cultivation.  Fraternally 
he  is  a  member  of  the  Masonic  Lodge  of  Brawley  and  holds  member- 
ship in  the  B.  P.  O.  E.  of  Prescott,  Arizona.  Mr.  Morin's  parents  are 
both  deceased;  his  father  died  in  1909,  and  his  mother  passed  away  in 
July,  1916;  both  are  buried  in  Salina,  Kansas.  Mrs.  Morin's  mother 
died  in  July,  191 7,  and  her  father  died  in  1908;  both  are  buried  in 
Monrovia,  California. 

JAMES  DUVAL  PHELAN,  Democrat,  native  of  San  Francisco,  grad- 
uated from  St.  Ignatius  University  with  degree  of  A.  B. ;  honorary  de- 
gree Ph.  D.  Santa  Clara  University  ;  studied  law  University  of  Califor- 
nia; was  vice-president  of  California  World's  Columbian  Commission, 
1893  ;  elected  three  times  mayor  of  San  Francisco,  1897-1902  ;  after  San 
Francisco  disaster  was  president  of  relief  and  Red  Cross  fund ;  served 
as  regent  of  the  University  of  California;  member  of  library  trustees 
and  park  commission ;  chairman  charter  association  which  gave  new 
charter  to  San  Francisco ;  president  adornment  association  which  pro- 
cured the  Burnham  plans  for  that  city ;  member  of  the  Society  of  Cali- 
fornia Pioneers ;  president  of  the  hall  association  of  the  Native  Sons  of 
the  Golden  West ;  president  of  the  Mutual  Savings  Bank,  and  director 
in  the  First  National  Bank  and  First  Federal  Trust  Co.  of  San  Francis- 
co. He  received  complimentary  vote  for  United  States  Senator  in  the 
California  Legislature  in  1900;  was  commissioned  by  appointment  of 
State  Department  to  Europe,  191 3,  on  behalf  of  the  United  States  Gov- 
ernment to  support  the  invitation  of  the  President  to  foreign  countries 
to  participate  in  the  Panama-Pacific  Exposition ;  in  December,  1914, 
was  appointed  by  State  Department,  under  special  authority  from  the 
President,  to  investigate  the  fitness  of  the  American  minister  to  the 
Dominican  Republic ;  was  nominated  in  Democratic  primaries  August, 
1914,  as  party  candidate  for  the  United  States  Senate  by  popular  elec- 
tion ;  elected  November  of  the  same  year,  receiving  a  plurality  of  25,000 
votes,  carrying  39  counties  to  his  opponents'  19.  His  term  of  service  will 
expire  March  3,  1921.  Address,  2249  R  Street,  Washington,  D.  C. ;  Phe- 


330 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


Ian  Building,  or  residence,  2150  Washington  Street,  San  Francisco; 
country  residence.  Villa  Montalvo,  Saratoga,  Santa  Clara  County,  Cal. 

EDWARD  E.  WILLIAMS  is  numbered  among  the  substantial  busi- 
ness men  of  Brawley,  California,  and  is  engaged  in  the  business  of  sell- 
ing new  and  second-hand  furniture.  He  has  since  the  start  been  doing 
a  profitable  business.  Mr.  Williams  was  born  in  Canada,  March  5, 
1879,  son  of  Thomas  and  Maria  Williams.  He  attended  the  public 
schools  in  Canada  and  after  finishing  his  schooling  he  followed  farm- 
ing until  he  was  twenty-seven  years  of  age.  For  six  years  he  followed 
carpenter  work  after  coming  to  the  coast.  In  1915  he  returned  to  Canada 
owing  to  his  mother's  death,  and  then  returned  to  Ontario,  California, 
where  he  engaged  in  the  furniture  business.  Mr.  Williams  removed  his 
stock  from  Ontario  to  Brawley,  where  he  has  since  remained.  Mr.  Wil- 
liams was  married  December  25,  1902,  to  Miss  Lula  M.  Gidney,  a  na- 
tive of  Canada.  To  this  union  have  been  born  seven  children:  Edna  L., 
Clarence  Edward,  Frank  George  Earl,  Harold  Alvin,  Rodger  Ray, 
Marvin  Lewis  and  Elva  Alice.  Fraternally  Mr.  Williams  is  a  member  of 
the  Yeomen  Lodge  of  Brawley.  The  family  are  members  of  the  Free 
Methodist  Church. 

DR.  JOSEPH  A.  MILLER.— A  man  of  vigorous  mentality  and  of 
great  versatility  of  talent,  Dr.  Joseph  A.  Miller,  of  Brawley,  California, 
has  now  a  position  of  note  among  the  leading  members  of  the  medical 
profession  of  England,  Canada  and  the  United  States,  his  professional 
knowledge  and  ability  being  recognized  and  appreciated.  Dr.  Miller  was 
born  in  Toronto,  Canada,  September  3,  1829.  He  acquired  his  educa- 
tion in  Toronto,  Canada,  attending  the  Toronto  University  and  Liter- 
ary College.  He  studied  medicine  and  practiced  in  London,  Toronto 
and  Hamilton,  Canada.  He  came  to  the  coast  in  1853,  where  he  prac- 
ticed. He  spent  some  years  in  British  Columbia  and  the  Arctic  region. 
Dr.  Miller  was  united  in  marriage  in  Paso  Robles,  California,  Septem- 
ber 3,  1889,  to  Charlotte  Angieline  Wood,  daughter  of  Benjamin  and 
Charlotte  Wood.  Her  father  was  a  native  of  Illinois,  and  he  came  to 
California  overland  in  1857.  On  the  trip  across  the  plains  the  Indians 
attacked  the  caravan  about  100  miles  north  of  Salt  Lake  City.  In  the 
fight  which  ensued  Mr.  Wood  and  his  brothers,  James  and  William, 


BIOGRAPHICAL 


33* 


were  wounded.  There  were  eight  men  and  two  women  in  the  party. 
The  wife  and  daughter  of  James  Wood  were  killed  and  five  head  of 
mules  were  taken  by  the  Indians.  Mrs.  Miller's  father  settled  in  Con- 
tra Costa  County  from  1857  to  1862.  He  later  removed  to  Haywards 
and  then  went  to  Monterey,  where  he  remained  twenty  years.  Dr.  Mil- 
ler resided  in  Monterey,  California,  from  1889  to  1899,  when  he  re- 
moved to  Sonoma  County,  where  he  practiced  his  profession  for  five 
years.  In  1905  he  removed  to  Brawley  and  practiced  with  gratifying 
success  until  1910,  when  he  retired  owing  to  his  health.  Mrs.  Miller 
has  been  conspicuous  in  the  W.  C.  T.  U.  work  in  the  Valley  for  a  num- 
ber of  years  and  was  the  founder  of  the  work  here.  She  served  as 
president  of  that  body  for  eight  years.  She  takes  an  active  part  in 
church  work  and  has  been  identified  with  newspaper  work  for  some 
years  in  the  Valley.  Dr.  Miller  is  much  esteemed  by  those  who  know 
him  for  the  sterling  character  of  his  manhood.  Mrs.  Miller  has  always 
been  prominent  in  religious  work  and  has  countless  warm  friends  in 
the  Valley.  She  taught  school  in  the  State  for  eight  years. 

EARL  McREYNOLDS  has  achieved  success  in  life  as  a  result  of  his 
own  efforts,  and  holds  the  regard  of  all  with  whom  he  has  been  thrown 
in  contact.  He  is  a  native  son.  His  birth  occurred  in  South  Pasadena, 
California,  September  11,  1886,  son  of  Aaron  and  Mae  McReynolds. 
His  father  was  a  native  of  Canada  and  his  mother  was  born  in  Nebras- 
ka. Mr.  McReynolds  attended  the  public  and  high  schools  of  South 
Pasadena,  after  which  he  attended  business  college.  He  worked  for  the 
John  H.  Norton  Construction  Company,  who  had  the  contract  for  con- 
structing the  road-bed  for  the  Salt  Lake  Railroad  from  Los  Angeles  to 
the  Utah  line.  Mr.  McReynolds  had  a  clerical  position  with  this  firm 
for  two  years.  He  then  for  over  four  years  was  identified  with  the 
Southern  Pacific  road  in  the  operating  department.  Resigning  his  posi- 
tion with  the  Southern  Pacific  road,  he  went  with  the  Tonopah  and 
Goldfield  Railroad  for  one  year,  in  the  operating  department.  He  then 
became  identified  with  the  Wells  Fargo  Express  Company,  working  in 
California  and  Nevada  up  to  1913,  when  he  became  associated  with  the 
Brawley  Hardware  Company.  This  firm  was  taken  over  by  the  Imperial 
Valley  Hardware  Company,  and  Mr.  McReynolds  still  holds  his  posi- 
tion with  this  firm.  Politically  he  is  a  Democrat.  He  is  a  member  of  the 


332 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


Water  and  Fire  Commission.  Fraternally  he  is  a  member  of  the 
Knights  of  Pythias  lodge  of  Brawley.  Mr.  McReynolds  was  united  in 
marriage  to  Miss  Theresa  Polsie,  of  Santa  Ana,  California,  October  31, 
1901. 

WILLIAM  HENRY  BEST.— A  highly  esteemed  and  respected  citizen 
of  Brawley,  William  Henry  Best  is  eminently  worthy  of  special  men- 
tion in  the  first  history  of  Imperial  County.  Few  of  the  pioneers  of  the 
county  met  with  such  success  as  fell  to  the  portion  of  Mr.  Best,  who  is 
now  the  owner  of  the  finest  property  in  the  county,  consisting  of  320 
acres,  which  has  been  brought  up  to  a  high  state  of  cultivation.  Pos- 
sessed of  progressive  ideas,  energy  and  enterprise,  he  made  his  ventures 
a  success.  William  H.  Best  is  the  senior  member  of  the  firm  of  Best, 
DeBlois  and  Covington,  and  came  to  the  county  in  March,  1904.  He 
purchased  a  half  section  in  No.  4,  and  a  half  section  in  No.  5 ;  about 
three  years  later  he  invested  in  stock  of  the  Imperial  Valley  Savings 
Bank,  and  in  1912  he  was  appointed  vice-president.  He  has  served  as 
president  of  Water  Company  No.  4  for  the  past  seven  years,  and  has 
been  identified  as  chairman  of  the  advisory  board  of  the  Imperial 
County  Water  Companies  for  a  period  of  two  years,  and  is  still  serv- 
ing as  chairman  of  that  board.  Mr.  Best  was  born  in  Port  Williams, 
Nova  Scotia,  September  28,  1865,  son  of  Newton  W.  and  Anna  C. 
(Holmes)  Best.  Mr.  Best's  father  resides  in  Turlock,  California,  and  is 
79  years  of  age.  His  mother  died  December  12,  1912,  and  is  buried  in 
Santa  Ana.  Mr.  Best  received  his  education  in  the  California  schools, 
having  accompanied  his  parents  to  this  State  via  the  Panama  route.  He 
assisted  on  the  home  place  at  Santa  Ana  until  he  was  of  age.  He  then 
went  to  Beaumont,  California,  where  he  purchased  land  and  rented 
more  and  engaged  in  the  livestock  business.  Here  he  remained  until 
1894.  He  then  returned  to  Orange  County  and  rented  land.  Later  he 
purchased  a  ranch  and  remained  at  Tustin  until  he  removed  to  Imperial 
County.  In  politics  Mr.  Best  is  a  Republican.  Fraternally  he  is  a  mem- 
ber of  the  I.  O.  O.  F.  lodge.  He  was  married  at  Redlands,  California, 
December  27,  1892,  to  Miss  Anna  Covington,  daughter  of  Peter  H.  and 
Martha  A.  Covington.  Her  father's  death  occurred  in  1917,  at  the  age 
of  seventy-one,  and  her  mother  resides  at  Santa  Ana,  California.  To 
Mr.  and  Mrs.  Best  have  been  born  two  children — Hallie  M.,  born  Jan- 


BIOGRAPHICAL 


333 


uary  23,  1894,  wife  of  Dr.  R.  O.  Thompson  of  Imperial,  California, 
and  Arthur  L.,  born  April  5,  1901,  attending  the  Northwestern  Military 
Academy.  Mr.  Best  has  had  considerable  experience  in  placing  loans  in 
the  Valley,  and  has  been  actively  engaged  in  the  real  estate  business  for 
the  past  six  years.  His  motto  appears  to  be  "First  know  the  land,  then 
tell  the  truth."  That  Mr.  Best  knows  Imperial  Valley  land  is  a  well- 
known  fact  to  all  of  his  business  associates.  There  is  probably  not  an- 
other man  in  the  district  so  well  acquainted  with  soil  conditions  in  the 
Valley  as  Mr.  Best.  At  a  time  when  money  was  scarcer  than  overcoats 
in  Imperial  Valley,  Mr.  Best  made  two  trips  to  Washington  for  the 
purpose  of  getting  government  aid  for  building  a  levee  in  Mexico  and 
succeeded  in  getting  it. 

C.  ORSMOND  BULLIS.— One  of  the  commanding  figures  in  the 
agricultural  life  of  Imperial  County  is  C.  Orsmond  Bullis,  of  El  Cen- 
tro.  He  has  made  steady  progress  towards  prominence  and  is  today 
largely  connected  with  the  agricultural  interests  of  Imperial  County. 
He  is  associated  with  H.  H.  Timken,  the  famous  roller-bearing  man, 
as  secretary-treasurer  and  manager  of  the  Timken  Ranch  Company. 
This  million  dollar  concern  owns  four  thousand  acres  of  highly  culti- 
vated land,  and  has  other  financial  interests  in  Imperial  County.  The 
Timken  Ranch  Company  is  numbered  among  the  most  prosperous 
and  enterprising  concerns  in  California.  The  management  of  its  inter- 
ests here  stands  high  among  the  far-sighted,  energetic  men  who  are 
rendering  such  material  assistance  in  developing  and  advancing  the 
agricultural  prosperity  of  this  section  of  California.  Mr.  Bullis  has  been 
and  is  today  in  a  large  measure  instrumental  in  making  that  concern 
what  it  is,  one  of  the  most  flourishing  and  substantial  ranch  companies 
in  the  state.  He  was  born  at  Sheldon,  Iowa,  January  10,  1883,  a  son  of 
Charles  Henry  and  Mary  L.  (Barrett)  Bullis,  both  deceased.  Mr.  Bul- 
lis' grandmother,  on  his  father's  side,  was  Lydia  P.  Lapham.  The  Lap- 
ham  family  has  been  one  of  prominence  and  influence  in  America  since 
the  colonial  epoch  in  our  national  history.  The  family  genealogy  dates 
back  to  John  Lapham,  who  was  born  in  1635  and  is  of  English  descent. 
Among  his  descendants  many  notables  were  in  the  family,  and  among 
the  more  recent  members  may  be  mentioned  Susan  B.  Anthony  and 
Hetty  Green.  C.  Orsmond  Bullis  acquired  his  education  in  the  public 


334 


HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 


and  high  schools  of  Sheldon,  Iowa,  graduating  from  the  latter  in  1899. 
He  entered  the  Ohio  Wesleyan  University  and  received  the  B.  A.  de- 
gree in  1913.  After  several  years  of  active  business  life  he  again  en- 
tered college  in  191 1  and  graduated  with  the  class  of  1912,  Yale  Col- 
lege. He  took  a  short  farm  course  in  Cornell  University.  During  his 
early  business  career  he  was  identified  with  the  International  Harvest- 
er Company  and  later  with  the  loan  department  of  the  Northwestern 
Mutual  Life  Insurance  Company,  of  Milwaukee,  Wisconsin,  at  its 
Sheldon,  Iowa,  office.  After  being  associated  with  this  concern  for  some 
time  he  accepted  a  position  as  cashier  in  the  freight  department  of  the 
C,  St.  P.,  M.  &  O.  Ry.  of  the  Northwestern  Line  at  Sheldon,  Iowa. 
He  was  afterwards  made  assistant  agent  at  Mitchell,  South  Dakota, 
and  later  chief  clerk  to  the  general  freight  agent  at  Sioux  City,  Iowa. 
After  three  years  Mr.  Bullis  severed  his  connection  with  the  railroad 
with  which  he  had  filled  these  positions  with  marked  ability.  From 
1907  to  191 1  he  engaged  in  the  real  estate  business  and  at  the  same 
time  managed  his  own  farm  interests  at  Benson,  Minnesota.  From  the 
fall  of  1912  to  1914  he  was  identified  with  the  San  Diego  Securities 
Company  of  San  Diego,  California,  after  which  he  became  Imperial 
Valley  loan  agent  for  H.  H.  Timken.  When  the  Timken  Ranch  Com- 
pany was  organized  in  1915  he  was  made  secretary-treasurer  and  man- 
ager. Fraternally  he  is  a  member  of  the  Knights  of  Pythias  Lodge  and 
the  Phi  Gamma  Delta  fraternity.  He  has  recently  been  appointed  a 
member  of  the  farm  labor  committee  of  the  State  Council  of  Defense. 

PHILO  JONES. — The  career  of  Philo  Jones  of  Brawley  is  one  which 
clearly  defines  his  position  as  one  of  the  progressive  and  representative 
business  men  of  Imperial  County.  He  has  paved  the  way  for  many  im- 
portant enterprises  which  meant  success  for  the  city  of  Brawley.  Mr. 
Jones  was  born  on  his  father's  farm  near  Davis,  Macomb  County, 
Michigan,  January  22,  1873,  son  of  David  T.  and  Lavina  (Sutliff) 
Jones.  His  father  was  a  native  of  Wales,  while  his  mother  was  born  in 
New  York  State.  In  1883  Mr.  Jones'  parents  removed  to  Ontario,  Cali- 
fornia, when  he  was  ten  years  of  age.  He  attended  the  public  schools 
and  later  entered  the  Chafey  Preparatory  School  of  Ontario,  gradu- 
ating in  1893.  He  also  attended  the  University  of  Southern  California. 
In  1897  ne  became  receiver  for  the  Union  Iron  Works  of  Los  Angeles 


BIOGRAPHICAL 


335 


for  one  year,  and  for  two  years  was  identified  with  the  Printers'  Supply 
business,  having  the  position  as  inside  manager.  Leaving  this  position  he 
was  connected  with  the  Salinas  Water,  Light  &  Power  Company  as 
superintendent  for  a  period  of  nearly  three  years.  While  attending  the 
University  of  Southern  California,  he  was  editor  of  the  University 
Courier  for  three  years,  and  published  the  first  junior  annual  of  that  in- 
stitution. Mr.  Jones  was  identified  with  other  public  utility  companies. 
He  served  as  general  manager  of  the  Santa  Maria  Electric  Company 
during  construction  work,  and  was  associated  with  the  Pacific  Electric 
Company  of  Los  Angeles  as  beach  manager  at  Playa  del  Rey  for  over 
one  year.  In  June,  1907,  Mr.  Jones  removed  to  Brawley  and  took  charge 
of  the  Brawley  Town  and  Improvement  Company.  He  has  been  asso- 
ciated with  many  leading  ventures  in  the  Valley  since  locating  in  Braw- 
ley. He  has  taken  an  active  part  in  the  early  political  history  of  the  Val- 
ley, and  registers  as  a  Republican.  In  1913,  Mr.  Jones  engaged  in  the 
general  brokerage  business.  He  makes  a  specialty  of  farm  loans  and 
insurance.  He  was  united  in  marriage  to  Miss  Myrtle  Hillen  Nance  of 
Santa  Maria,  California,  August  4,  1909.  To  this  union  has  been  born 
one  daughter — Margaret  Jeanette,  born  September  29,  191 1.  The  father 
of  Mrs. "Jones,  Thomas  Nance,  was  among  the  first  pioneers,  and  he 
put  in  the  first  crop  in  the  Santa  Maria  Valley.  His  death  occurred  in 
1915,  at  the  age  of  eighty  years.  Mrs.  Jones'  mother  resides  in  Santa 
Maria.  Mr.  Jones  was  appointed  justice  of  the  peace  in  May,  1915; 
this  office  he  still  holds  to  the  satisfaction  of  all.  He  was  city  recorder 
for  several  years  and  resigned  in  1917.  Fraternally  Mr.  Jones  is  affili- 
ated with  the  Masonic  lodge  of  Brawley,  and  is  Past  Master  of  his 
lodge.  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Jones  are  prominent  in  church  work  and  hold 
membership  in  the  Methodist  church.  She  is  also  president  of  the  Gram- 
mar School  Board. 

WILL  S.  SWEET  is  one  of  the  representative  business  men  of  Braw- 
ley. He  was  born  in  Franklin  County,  Iowa,  June  23,  1878,  son  of  Olney 
F.  and  Helen  M.  Sweet,  both  natives  of  Pennsylvania.  Mr.  Sweet  ac- 
quired his  education  in  the  public  and  high  schools  of  his  native  coun- 
ty. He  afterwards  studied  dentistry,  attending  the  Milwaukee  Dental 
College,  graduating  in  1905.  Mr.  Sweet  came  west  and  practiced  his 
profession  in  Long  Beach,  California,  for  a  period  of  three  years.  In 


336  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

1909  he  removed  to  Brawley  and  engaged  in  farming  on  the  west  side, 
and  had  one  hundred  acres  under  cultivation.  He  did  general  farming 
and  was  identified  in  the  dairy  business.  In  1916  Mr.  Sweet  engaged  in 
the  bakery  business  with  A.  S.  Wolfe.  He  has  been  identified  as  a  direc- 
tor on  No.  8  water  board  for  some  years.  He  now  leases  his  ranch  and 
gives  his  entire  time  to  promoting  the  interests  of  his  business.  He  was 
married  July  10,  1908,  to  Miss  Irene  E.  Wheelock,  a  native  of  Iowa, 
and  daughter  of  George  H.  Wheelock.  Mrs.  Sweet's  parents  came  to 
Imperial  County  at  an  early  date  and  her  father,  now  deceased,  was 
connected  with  the  Southern  Pacific  Railroad  as  telegraph  operator.  To 
Mr.  and  Mrs.  Sweet  have  been  born  one  son,  George  Olney,  born 
March  31,  1912.  The  father  of  Mr.  Sweet  fought  in  the  Civil  war,  and 
Mrs.  Sweet's  father  was  also  a  Civil  war  veteran.  The  subject  of  this 
review  served  as  a  volunteer  in  the  Spanish  American  war  for  six 
months,  and  was  attached  to  the  $2d  Iowa  Infantry,  and  was  mustered 
out  October  25,  1908.  Mr.  Sweet  is  held  in  high  regard  by  his  business 
associates  in  Brawley. 

HOWARD  SHORES. — The  changes  that  have  taken  place  in  Imperial 
County  since  the  arrival  of  Howard  Shores,  are  many,  and  they  have 
been  brought  about  by  the  enterprising  methods  and  energetic  activities 
of  just  such  men  as  Mr.  Shores.  He  was  born  in  Jonesboro,  Craighead 
County,  Arkansas,  July  28,  1885,  son  of  Levi  and  Ola  Shores,  both  na- 
tives of  Atlanta,  Georgia.  Mr.  Shores  acquired  his  education  in  the  pub- 
lic schools  of  his  native  State  and  later  attended  college  in  Arkadel- 
phia  and  the  University  of  Arkansas  at  Fayetteville.  Mr.  Shores  joined 
the  National  Guard,  serving  two  years.  For  a  time  he  was  a  guard  at 
the  St.  Louis  Exposition,  and  in  January,  1905,  the  parents  removed  to 
California  and  were  identified  with  the  hotel  business  for  a  period  of 
ten  years.  Previous  to  locating  in  Brawley,  Mr.  Shores  made  several 
trips  to  the  Valley,  and  in  1914  he  engaged  in  the  gents'  furnishing 
business  with  his  brother,  Gus  B.  Mr.  Shores  purchased  a  ranch  of 
forty  acres  two  miles  from  Brawley,  where  he  made  his  home  until  the 
spring  of  1918.  Mr.  Shores'  brother  is  a  well-known  business  man  of 
Los  Angeles.  He  was  identified  with  and  was  manager  of  the  rug  de- 
partment of  A.  J.  Sloan,  and  for  some  time  was  associated  with  the 
Goodwin  and  Jenkins  Furniture  Company.  He  also  had  charge  of  the 


BIOGRAPHICAL 


337 


rug  department  for  that  concern.  November  2,  1917,  he  enlisted  in  the 
U.  S.  Army  and  at  the  present  writing  he  is  stationed  at  American 
Lake,  Washington.  Both  brothers  are  members  of  the  B.  P.  O.  E.  lodge 
of  El  Centro.  Mr.  Shores'  mother  is  deceased  and  his  father  resides  in 
Arkansas.  The  subject  of  this  review,  with  Purl  Willis,  organized  Bat- 
tery D,  which  was  largely  made  up  of  Imperial  County  men.  Battery  D 
went  into  the  143rd  field  artillery  and  is  now  stationed  at  Camp  Kearny. 
Fourteen  non-commissioned  officers  and  four  commissioned  officers 
were  selected  from  Imperial  County  to  serve  in  the  143rd  field  artillery. 
Mr.  Shores,  aside  from  his  mercantile  business,  finds  time  to  look  after 
his  ranch,  which  is  now  leased.  It  has  been  set  over  to  grapefruit,  dates 
and  vegetables.  Shores  Bros,  have  shown  marked  business  ability  and 
they  have  the  confidence  and  good-will  of  their  business  associates. 

GEORGE  W.  DONLEY. — Noteworthy  among  the  representative  men 
of  Imperial  County  is  George  W.  Donley,  one  of  the  earliest  settlers 
in  the  Valley,  and  since  1901  he  has  been  active  in  the  development  of 
this  section.  He  has  been  identified  with  the  real  estate  business  since 
1908.  He  owns  about  800  acres  of  land  and  400  acres  being  under  cul- 
tivation and  devoted  to  the  raising  of  cotton,  corn,  alfalfa,  asparagus 
and  grapes  and  dairy.  Mr.  Donley  is  a  native  of  Hannibal,  Missouri, 
and  was  born  March  25,  1857,  a  son  of  Noah  and  Sarah  (Hamton) 
Donley.  The  Donley  family  located  at  Hannibal,  Missouri,  in  1818, 
where  Noah  Donley  was  engaged  in  farming.  His  death  occurred  in 
1876.  George  W.  received  his  education  in  the  schools  of  his  native 
town.  He  was  elected  to  office  as  clerk  and  ex-ofhcio  recorder  of 
Marion  County  for  two  years.  He  then  was  in  the  United  States  mail 
service  for  two  years.  In  1880  he  removed  to  Colorado  and  embarked 
in  the  mining  and  real  estate  business,  where  he  remained  until  1886, 
coming  to  San  Diego  and  later  to  Escondido,  where  in  1887  he  married 
Miss  Sarah  F.  Weatherly,  daughter  of  M.  Weatherly.  In  1901  he  was 
one  of  the  first  to  commence  operations  in  the  Imperial  Valley.  He  in- 
duced others  to  locate  here  and  was  active  in  disposing  of  water  stock. 
Mr.  Donley  has  served  as  a  trustee  for  Imperial  for  three  years.  He 
was  instrumental  in  having  sidewalks  put  in  and  other  improvements. 
He  saw  the  Valley  transformed  from  a  desert  to  a  place  of  great  pro- 
ductiveness. He  came  to  Imperial  when  there  were  only  a  few  tent 


338  HISTORY  OF  IMPERIAL  COUNTY 

houses,  and  El  Centro  was  not  on  the  map,  and  through  his  ability 
many  leading  ventures  were  put  through.  His  real  estate  operations 
have  always  been  along  strictly  legitimate  lines,  and  his  business  repu- 
tation is  without  blemish.  To  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Donley  have  been  born : 
Chester  A.,  who  is  serving  in  the  United  States  Army  and  attached 
to  the  coast  artillery ;  Irene  is  registry  clerk  in  the  Imperial  postoffice, 
and  George  is  cashier  at  Varney  Brothers.  In  addition  to  his  large 
ranch  holdings,  Mr.  Donley  has  much  valuable  city  property.  At  the 
time  he  came  to  Imperial  the  freighting  was  done  by  teams  from  Old 
Beach  and  only  a  substitute  was  used  for  the  first  school  house. 

ERNEST  C.  SCHELLING. — Numbered  among  the  prominent  and 
successful  business  men  of  Brawley  is  Ernest  C.  Schelling,  who  has 
been  identified  with  the  grocery  business  with  Walter  S.  Campbell  since 
1916.  Mr.  Schelling  came  to  Imperial  County  in  1909.  He  was  born  near 
Ackley,  Hardin  County,  Iowa,  July  12,  1874,  a  son  of  Joseph  and  Mary 
(Meyers)  Schelling.  His  parents  were  among  the  early  settlers  in  Iowa, 
and  his  father  was  one  of  the  pioneer  farmers  of  Hardin  County.  His 
death  occurred  in  1916,  and  was  buried  in  Rockford,  Illinois.  Mr. 
Schelling's  mother  passed  away  in  1896,  and  is  buried  in  Beeman, 
Iowa.  Ernest  C.  received  his  education  in  the  public  schools  of  Iowa 
and  Illinois;  he  left  high  school  at  the  age  of  seventeen.  He  then  took 
up  the  study  of  pharmacy,  receiving  his  diploma  as  a  registered  phar- 
macist in  the  State  of  Illinois.  For  six  years  he  was  associated  with  the 
drug  business.  He  then  learned  the  grocery  business  and  in  1909  he 
came  to  California  and  located  in  Brawley,  where  he  found  employ- 
ment with  Harry  Baum.  He  remained  here  as  manager  of  the  grocery 
department  until  he  purchased  the  stock  of  Mr.  Baum,  with  W.  S. 
Campbell.  The  store  takes  rank  with  the  stores  in  much  larger  cities,  it 
being  the  largest  in  Brawley  and  is  one  of  the  two  stores  in  Imperial 
Valley  that  had  to  get  a  government  license.  Mr.  Schelling  and  Mr. 
Campbell  are  recognized  as  leaders  of  their  line,  and  their  personalities 
enter  into  every  transaction,  and  the  people  of  Brawley  have  learned 
that  they  can  depend  on  the  goods  as  represented.  Fraternally  Mr. 
Schelling  is  serving  as  chancellor  commander  of  the  Knights  of  Pythias 
and  is  a  Blue  Lodge